Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "An ecclesiastical biography : containing the lives of ancient fathers and modern divines, interspersed with notices of heretics and schismatics, forming a brief history of the church in every age"

See other formats



BR 1700 .H6 5 1845 "~v7Z~ 
Hook, Walter Farquhar, 179£ 

An ecclesiastical biography 




fttbea of %lncitnt jFatfjera an& f&o&ern Efomes, 










P. AND j. rivington; 






This Work will be continued in Monthly Parts, 
and be ready, as before, for delivery with the maga- 
zines. It is considered by many desirable to receive 
the work in Parts, as it enables them, without 
difficulty, to read it through, and so to obtain an 
acquaintance with Ecclesiastical History, as well as 
with the character and principles of our chief Saints 
and Divines. Arrangements have been made to pub- 
lish each future Part so as to render it complete in 
itself; that is to say, any biography which is com- 
menced will be given entire, although the average 
•number of pages (60) be exceeded, a proportionate 
deduction being made from the number of pages in 
the succeeding Part. The price is fixed as low as 
possible, and unless there were many subscribers to 
the work, it could not be maintained. 


It was stated in the former volume that, although 
the work is alphabetic ally arranged, a table would be 
given, so that it might be read chronologically ; and 
although the two first letters of the alphabet are not 
yet completed, the reader will perceive from the 
following table, that if he reads the Lives chrono- 
logically, he will have already a history of the 
Church, or of some considerable portion of it, in 
almost every century. Only those names are inserted 
in this table which belong to personages more or less 
engaged in the public transactions of their age. 





St Anthony. 


St Alban. 





St Athanasius. 

St Ambrose. 


St Augustine. 
St Basil. 





St Bernard. 


Alexander of Blois 

Basil of Ancyra. 





St Benedict. 





Arnold of Brescia. 

Augustine of Canterbury. 





Albertus Magnus 


Thomas Aquinas 




Boniface of Canterbury 

Benedict Biscop 














Beaufort, Cardinal. 




Adrian de Castello. 











































Basil, Saint. Saint Basil the great was born at 
Csesarea, in Cappadocia, about the year 329. His parents 
were person s of rank and wealth, distinguished yet more 
by their Christian virtues, who had fled to the wilds of 
Pontus, during the Maximinian persecution. His grand- 
father on the mother's side had received the crown of 
martyrdom. His father, whose profession was that of 
rhetoric, was named Basil, and his mother's name was 
Emmelia Under them he received a Christian education, 
but he expresses himself as peculiarly indebted for the 
formation of his mind, to his grandmother Macrina. In 
writing to the Church of Neocsesarea, in after years, he 
says, " what clearer evidence can there be of my faith, than 
that I was brought up by my grandmother, blessed 
woman, who came from you? I mean the celebrated 
Macrina, who taught me the words of the blessed Gregory ; 
(Gregory Thaumaturgus ;) which, as far as memory had 
preserved down to her day, she cherished herself, while 
she fashioned and formed me, being yet a child, upon the 
doctrines of piety." And afterwards : "I have many 
subjects of self-reproach, but thanks to the grace of God, 
I have never given in to any false doctrine, nor varied in 
my sentiments ; having always preserved those which my 
blessed mother and my grandmother Macrina inspired in 
me : these good principles have developed themselves with 
my understanding as I have advanced in years, but the 
seed was sown in me in my earliest youth, and such as it 


2 BAS. 

was, such has it brought forth.'' It is sometimes said that 
the sons of widows generally turn out well : and this is 
doubtless because of the many promises of God to the father- 
less and widow : but in viewing second causes, we may say 
that it is because so much of female tenderness, mixed with 
consistent discipline, is brought to bear on the manly 
character. No really great man, certainly no good man, 
can exist, unless the heart has been cultivated as well as 
the intellect ; unless to a powerful understanding be united 
an affectionate disposition : aucl of the two, the cultivation 
of the heart in man, the encouragement of the more gentle 
sympathies and sentiments of our nature, is even more 
important than the exercise of the mental faculties ; 
though the character cannot be properly formed, unless to 
both points attention be directed. This will account for 
the fact that almost every man distinguished for a union 
of virtue with genius, has been able to trace his excellence 
to maternal, or at least to female superintendence in his 
education. To this rule, we have seen that St Basil 
formed no exception. 

St Basil was eminently happy also in his father, who, 
when he found him sufficiently grounded in the truth, 
sent him, for the further education of his mind, first to 
Caesarea, and then to Constantinople. At the former 
place he became acquainted with St Gregory Nazianzen, 
with whom he renewed his friendship on his removal to 
Athens, where they both met again, being sent there, as 
we should say, " to complete their education," though in 
truth the education of a Christian mind never ceases. 
The Christian Church is a school in which we take lessons 
in godliness as long as life lasts. The characters of Basil 
and of Gregory were so different, that later in life mis- 
understandings occurred between them, without, however, 
any permanent violation of that friendship which was 
founded on a mutual admiration of each other's excel- 
lence. But the friendship, it would seem, commenced, 
and perhaps was kept up, by Gregory's extreme admiration 
of Basil ; although Basil returned Gregory's affection, the 

BAS. 3 

enthusiasm of friendship was on Gregory's side. It was 
in the year 351 that Basil entered the university of 
Athens and found Gregory there, ready and anxious to 
protect his friend from those little annoyances to which 
fresh-men were exposed, but which the sedate disposition 
of Basil was likely to resist. St Gregory gives us an 
interesting account of the mode of living among the 
young men of Athens, and in his funeral oration on the 
death of St Basil, he adverts with his usual enthusiasm 
to days gone by : " How dear," he says, " is Athens to my 
remembrance ! It was there that I learned really to know 
Basil. I went there in search of knowledge, and I found 
happiness. We soon became every thing to each other ; 
the same roof sheltered as the same table served us ; even 
the same thoughts occupied our minds. We pursued our 
studies with equal ardour ; we each sought success, that 
great object of jealousy among men, and yet envy was 
unknown between us. We disputed, we argued, not for 
the honour of pre-eminence, but for the pleasure of yield- 
ing it. It seemed as if our bodies were animated by the 
same soul. Our daily occupation was the practice of 
virtue : the care of living for our eternal hopes, and that of 
detaching ourselves from this world, before we should be 
called upon to quit it. Nothing was more noble in our 
eyes than the endeavour to exalt each other above material 
things, and increase our faith. We estranged ourselves 
from such of our fellow students as were irregular in their 
conduct or language, and associated only with those whose 
conversation might be profitable to us. Our feet were 
familiar with only two streets ; one to the church, and to 
the holy teachers and doctors who there attended the 
service of the altar, aud nourished the flock of Christ with 
the food of life ; the other, which we held in less esteem, 
to the schools, where we listened to our masters in the 
sciences. Spectacles, diversions, and banquets, we aban- 
doned to those who were unfortunate enough to take 
pleasure in them. The sole business of our existem 

4 BAS. 

most glorious prerogative in our eyes, was to be called 
Christians, and to be such." 

In the year 357 Basil left Athens, though strongly 
urged and entreated by his fellow-students, and even his 
master, to remain longer among them, and hastened, 
through Constantinople, to Caesarea, in the hope of seeing 
his father, who was dangerously ill. This venerable 
parent was dead before his arrival ; and settling at 
Ceesarea Basil began to practise at the bar. The success, 
and even adulation, which Basil had received at Athens, 
had evidently subjected him to a temptation which he 
found it the more difficult to overcome when, in his practice 
at the bar, a similar success and admiration attended him. 
He was beginning to think extravagantly of his own 
abilities, and to encourage feelings of vanity, (being indeed 
not only eloquent as a speaker, but equally skilled in 
languages, science, and literature,) when he found a timely 
monitor in his sister Macrina. He had benefited too 
much by female instruction in his childhood, to think 
scom of woman's advice in his later years ; and the sister 
who bore his venerated grandmother's name, succeeded in 
her endeavours to awaken him to a sense of his danger. 
St Basil, in his 233rd epistle, describes both his feelings 
and his course of conduct: "After long time spent in 
vanity, and almost the whole of my youth vanishing in the 
idle toil of studying that wisdom which God has made 
folly, at length, roused as from a deep sleep, I gazed upon 
the marvellous light of Gospel truth, and discerned the 
unprofitableness of the wisdom taught by the perishing 
authorities of this world ; much did I bewail my wretched 
life, and pray that guidance would be vouchsafed to me 
for an entrance into the doctrines of godliness. And 
above all was it a care to me to reform rny heart, which 
the long society of the corrupt had perverted. So when I 
read the Gospel . and perceived thence that the best start 
towards perfection was to sell my goods and share them 
with indigent brethren, and altogether to be reckless of 


this life, and to rid my soul of all sympathy with things 
on earth, I earnestly desired to find some brother who had 
made the same choice, and who might take the voyage with 
me over the brief waves of this life. Many did I find in 
Alexandria, many in the rest of Egypt, and in Palestine 
in Ccele-Syria and Mesopotamia, whose abstinence and 
endurance I admired, and whose constancy in prayer L 
was amazed at, how they overcame sleep, being broken by 
no natural necessity, bearing ever a high and free spirit 
in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, not regarding 
the body, nor enduring to spend any thought upon it, but 
living as if in flesh not their own ; how they showed in 
deed what it is to sojourn in this world ; what it is to 
have our conversation in heaven. Admiiing and extolling 
the life of these men, who could so in deed carry about 
with them the dying of the Lord Jesus, I desired that 1 
myself, as far as I could attain, might be an imitator of 

In reference to the determination of Basil, to adopt a 
monastic kind of life, Mr Newman remarks, " that in the 
early ages it was scarcely possible to attain that state of life 
which a pious clergyman desires to lead, except in monastic 
institutions : but which in our favoured country, where 
Christianity has been long established, is, in its substance, 
the privilege of ten thousand parsonages up and down the 
land /" Who does not wish that the highly-gifted writer 
of the passsage just quoted would always thus think and 
speak of his holy mother, the venerated church of Eng- 
land ; and that, while aware of the disadvantages under 
which we labour, he could also see as clearly now, as when 
he penned this passage, the many advantages with which 
we are blessed ! The course of discipline which is neces- 
sary in one age of the Church, may not be expedient in 
another, though the principle is in all ages the same, — 
the principle of self-discipline and self-denial, for the 
edification of our souls in godliness, and the promotion of 
God's glory. 

The situation which St Basil cho^e for his retreat \^as 


a desert spot in Pontus. In this retreat he had several 
followers, and they passed their time in devotional 
exercises, works of charity, and the study of sacred litera- 
ture. Gregory would gladly have shared his retreat, but 
was retained by sacred duties in the bosom of his family. 
In answer to Basil's urgent invitation to join him, Gregory 
writes thus : 

" I have not, it is true, stood to my word ; having pro- 
tested, ever since our friendship and union of heart 
at Athens, that I would be your companion, and follow a 
strict life wdth you. Yet I act against my wish : duty is 
annulled by duty, the duty of friendship by the duty of 

filial reverence At the same time, I still shall be 

able to perform my promise in a measure, if you will 
accept thus much. I will come to you for a time, if, in 
turn, you will give me your company here ; thus we shall 
be quits in friendly service, while we have all things 
common. And thus I shall avoid distressing my parents, 
without losing you." 

St Basil himself gives an account of his retreat, which, 
though Gregory was facetious upon it, and represents some 
of its charms as owing their lustre to the brightness of his 
friend's imagination, must be substantially correct : "What 
we have often delighted to picture in our imaginations, it 
is at length granted me to see in reality. I have before 
me a high mountain clothed with a thick forest, watered 
on the north side by fresh and limpid streams ; at the foot 
of this mountain is spread a plain perpetually fertilized by 
the waters which fall from the surrounding heights, whilst 
the forest, encircling it with trees of every variety, self- 
planted, in all the wildness of nature, serves it at once as 
a boundary and a defence. The island of Calypso would 
appear nothing after it, though Homer admired it, above 
all others, for its beauty. The place is divided into 
two deep valleys : on one side the river, which precipitates 
itself from the j)eak of the mountain, forms a long barrier 
in its course, difficult to surmount ; and on the other the 
wide ridge of the mountain, which communicates with the 

BAS. 7 

valley only by a few winding intricate paths, shuts out all 
passage, — there is but one means of access, and of that 
we are the masters. My dwelling is built on one of the 
slopes of the mountain, the extremity of which juts out 
like a promontory. From it I survey the opening plain, 
and follow the course of the river, more delightful to me 
than the Strymon is to the inhabitants of Amphipolis ; 
the still and lazy waters of the Strymon, indeed, scarcely 
deserve the name of a river : but this, the most rapid I 
have ever seen, breaks against the rocks, and, thrown back 
again by them, falls headlong into foaming waves, and 
precipitates itself into the deep gulph below ; affording at 
once a most delightful spectacle, and an abundant supply 
of food, for there is an astonishing quantity of fish in its 
waters. Shall T speak of the fragrant dews of the earth, 
the freshness which exhales from the river? Another 
would describe the variety of the flowers, and the songs of 
the birds, but to these I have no leisure to pay attention. 
What I have to say the best of all of the spot is, that, 
along with the abundance of every thing, it affords like- 
wise, what is to me the sweetest of all, — and that is. 
tranquillity. It is not only far removed from the noise of 
cities, but it is not even visited by travellers, except some- 
times by a few hunters who come among us ; for we also 
have our wild beasts : not the bears and wolves of your 
mountains, but troops of stags, herds of wild goats, hares, 
and other animals as inoffensive. Pardon me, then, for 
having flown to this asylum ; Alcmeon himself stopped 
when he came to the islands of the Echinades." 

It is not, however, change of place that can immediately 
give change of heart ; and Basil, with his characteristic 
frankness, acknowledged to Gregory in another letter, that 
he found it more difficult to effect this than he had 

"I recognize," says he, "in the sentiments of your 
letter the hand which has traced them, as in looking at a 
child, we are reminded of its parents by a family likeness. 
You write to me that the place I have chosen for my 


retreat makes no difference to you : that all you desire is 
to know my mode of life, that you may come and join me 
in it. Such a thought is every way worthy of one like 
yourself, who annexes no importance to the things of this 
world, in comparison with the beatitudes which are pro- 
mised us in the next. ' How do I pass,' you ask, ' my 
days and nights in the retirement in which I am now 
living '?' Must I tell you ? Alas ! it will not be without 
confusion. I have left cities and their turmoil behind 
me. I have renounced every thing in them without 
regret, but I have not yet been able to renounce myself. 
I compare myself to voyagers who have not got accustomed 
to the sea, and to whom the motion of the vessel imparts 
the most uncomfortable sensations, because, in quitting 
land, they still bring on board with them the bile with 
which their stomach was overloaded. This is exactly tin- 
state in which I am. As long as ever we carry about with 
us the germs of the maladies that torment us, the place 
makes no difference : we shall find every where the same 
sorrowful results. I will confess to you, then, that I have 
not yet experienced any great benefit from my solitude. 
What, then, is to be done, and how, then, ought we to 
act, in order to follow faithfully in the steps of the Master 
who has opened to us the way of salvation, saying, ' If 
any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take 
up his cross, and follow me.' Thus it is that we must 
act ; we must, in the first place, labour to keep our minds 
in a calm and uniform consistency. When the eyes are 
accustomed to wander about in all directions, it becomes 
impossible to fix them on any object so steadfastly as to 
consider it under every point of view ; yet we must look 
at it earnestly, to make it out entirely. It is the same 
with tli;' mind ; when it is divided by the solicitudes of 
the world, it cannot concentrate its attention upon the 
determinate nature of truth, .... He who is not yet 
yoked in the bonds of matrimony, is harassed by frenzied 
cravings, and rebellious impulses, and hopeless attach- 
ments ; he who has found his mate is encompassed with 

BAS. 9 

his own tumult of cares : if he is childless, there is desire 
of children ; has he children ? anxiety about their educa- 
cation, attention to his wife, care of his house, oversight 
of his servants, misfortunes in trade, quarrels with his 
neighbours, lawsuits, the risks of the merchant, the toil of 
the farmer. Each day, as it comes, darkens the soul in 
its own way : and night after night takes up the day's 
anxieties, and cheats the mind with illusions in accord- 
ance. Now one way of escaping all this is separation from 
the whole world. What I mean by the expression, separa- 
tion from the world, is not merely to remove the body to 
a distance from it, but to detach all our affections from 
it ; to relinquish country, home, society, business, inter- 
ests, human sciences ; absolutely to divorce ourselves 
from all, in order that our souls may be entirely at 
liberty to receive the impressions the Lord may be pleased 
to make upon them. We cannot imprint new characters 
upon w r ax, till w T e have effaced the old ones : in the same 
manner the divine instructions cannot find place in a 
heart pre-occupied by all the ideas connected with the 
usual affairs of life. 

" One of the first benefits to be derived from retirement 
is the imposing silence on the disorderly movements of 
our own hearts, and affording the calm to reason, that is 
necessary to enable us to conquer our passions, which, 
like ferocious beasts, are only to be subjugated by being 
bowed under the yoke. Let us, then, suppose a solitude 
such as the desert in which I now am, far from the com- 
merce of mankind, where the pious exercises of a religious 
life, being uninterrupted by outward things, afford con- 
tinual nourishment to the soul. Can you imagine a 
felicity more desirable than that of imitating on earth 
that life which the angels lead in heaven ? To commence 
the day with prayers and sacred melodies, which bring us 
into immediate communication with our Creator; con- 
tinuing it by the same exercises, mingling with our labour 
the holy songs which give it its sweetest relish, and diffuse 
such delicious consolations over the soul as constantly to 

10 BAS. 

keep it in a state of ravishing serenity ? It is by this 
majestic equilibrium in the movements of the soul, that 
we are purified : by not permitting the tongue to indulge 
in idle conversation ; the eyes to dwell on the vain glory 
of mere outward things ; the ears to introduce to the soul 
any thing of effeminancy or frivolity, mere mundane 
music, or the heartless jests of trifling minds. 

" The soul, secured by these precautions from exterior 
diversion, and the attacks of the senses, retires within 
itself, and elevates its own nature to the contemplation of 
the Deity. Enlightened by the rays which shine forth 
from His divine essence, it rises above its own weakness ; 
freed from temporal cares, corporeal necessities, and affec- 
tions of earth, it devotes all its powers to the search after 
immortal good, and makes its sole occupation to consist 
in the practice of temperance, prudence, fortitude, justice, 
— in a word, of all the virtues that compose the code of 
Christian morality. 

" The surest way to understand thoroughly all that is 
required of us, is to meditate upon the Holy Scriptures, 
which bring before our eyes at once the precepts necessary 
for the direction of our conduct, and the examples of virtue 
best calculated to serve us as models. Hence, in whatever 
respect each one feels himself deficient, devoting himself 
to this imitation, he finds, as from some dispensary, the 
due medicine for his ailment. He who is enamoured of 
chastity, dwells upon the history of Joseph, and from him 
learns chaste actions, finding him not only possessed of 
self-command over pleasure, but virtuously-minded in 
habit. He is taught endurance from Job. Or, should he 
be inquiring how to be at once meek and great-hearted, 
hearty against sin, meek towards men, he will find David 
noble in warlike exploits, meek and unruffled as regards 
revenge on enemies. Such, too, was Moses, rising up 
with great heart upon sinners against God, but with meek 
soul bearing their evil speaking against himself. These 
meditations ought to be succeeded by prayer, which 
strengthens the energy of the soul, by the flame of divine 

BAS. 11 

love it kindles in it. Prayer also diffuses light over the 
mysteries of the divine essence. Prayer makes the soul 
the residence of God Himself, by filling its intelligence 
and perceptions with a profound impression of His pre- 
sence : it makes the Christian a temple of the divinity ; a 
sanctuary which neither the cares nor the revolutions that 
agitate the world, nor the lawless affections which make 
all our misery, dare venture to approach : separated from 
every thing beside, it then communes only with God. 

" One of the first objects of our care in a religious com- 
munity ought to be so to regulate our conversation, as to 
contract the habit of proposing questions to each other, 
without any mixture of a disputatious spirit, and of 
giving our answers without any pretension to superiority ; 
never to interrupt any one who may be speaking of some- 
thing useful ; to refrain from endeavouring to shine in 
conversation ; to love to learn, without feeling ashamed at 
our need of learning ; to impart what we know, without 
suffering our vanity to be gratified by imparting it, and 
without hiding from ourselves or others the source whence 
we may have derived our information, but always making 
known, with gratitude, to whomsoever we may be indebted 
for it. The sound of the voice should also be attended 
to, that we may draw neither too much, nor too little 
attention by it. Let us always reflect well on what we 
are going to say, before we give it utterance ; let us show 
ourselves polite, attentive, affectionate in our language, 
but let us not lend our ears to any thing of light or foolish 
jesting, — let us, on the contrary, mildly check, by friendly 
remonstrance, those who may be in the habit of indulging 
in it. We ought never to allow ourselves any harshness, 
either of manner or tone, even to recall to duty those who 
may have suffered themselves to wander from it. Always 
in matters of exhortation place yourself in the lowest 
place : you are sure by that means to gain him who may 
have need of your advice. In such cases we cannot do 
better than take for our model the prophet, who, charged 
with the rebuking of David in his sin, does not pronounce, 

12 BAS. 

in his own person, the sentence of condemnation on him, 
but borrowing the character of a stranger, in which to 
make his appeal to the king's individual judgment, leaves 
him, when he pronounces sentence against him, no plea 
for complaint against his accuser." 

In all these precepts we have the rules which Basil 
himself felt it necessary to impose on his own infirmities, 
and thus they became an indirect expression of his acute 
sense of his own imperfections. 

With what humility does he also express himself on 
the same subject to his friend Amphilochus : — " I have 
indeed renounced the world," he says, " as far as with- 
drawing myself from communication with it may be to 
renounce it ; but I feel that the man of the world still 
lives in me. You know I have practised at the bar, 
hence I have contracted a habit of speaking too much. 
I am not sufficiently on my guard against the thoughts 
which the evil one suggests to me ; I find difficulty in 
relinquishing the favourable opinion I had entertained of 
myself, — in a word, my whole soul has need of being 
renewed and purified, before I can contemplate, without 
impediment, the wonders and glory of my God." 

It was nevertheless with inward and sweet consolation 
that Basil began to see, in the way of life he had em- 
braced, the means afforded him of gradual approach to 
that perfection of the regenerate which was the object of 
all his most ardent desires. 

"It is certain," says he, again addressing his Mend 
Gregory, " that retirement from the world affords great 
assistance towards the attainment of this end : it calms 
and subdues the passions, and gradually induces a habit 
of sacred meditation." 

At a future period, when he found himself more and 
more strengthened in his renunciation of every thing that 
had formerly tended to engender in him a vain-glorious 
spirit and worldly desires, he was enabled to write thus 
to Eusebius : 

" I have lost much time from having spent my youth 

BAS. 13 

in the study of vain sciences, and the acquirement of that 
worldly wisdom which is foolishness in the sight of God ; 
but now these wretched illusions are dispersed ; I deplore 
the uselessness of my past life ; I see the emptiness of 
the acquirements which serve no other end than to inflate 
us with vain-glory, and the wonderful light of the Evan- 
gelists is become my sole treasure. It was indeed incum- 
bent upon me to reform my habits, which retained but 
too much of the long commerce I had had with the chil- 
dren of this world." 

Basil was joined by his friend in 359. Their happiness 
on this reunion, and the manner in which they passed 
their time, may be described by St Gregory, when in 
writing to his friend he says : "Who shall make me as 
in months past, as in the days when I had the luxury 
of suffering hardship with you ? since voluntary pain is 
higher than involuntary comfort. Who shall restore me 
to those psalmodies, and vigils, and departures to God 
through prayer, and that (as it were) immaterial and 
incorporeal life ? or to that union of brethren, in nature 
and soul, who are made gods by you, and carried on high? 
or to that rivalry in virtue and sharpening of heart which 
we consigned to written decrees and canons ? or to that 
loving study of divine oracles, and the light we found in 
them, with the guidance of the Spirit? or, to speak of 
lesser and lower things, to the bodily labours of the day, 
the wood-drawing and the stone-hewing, the planting and 
the draining ? or that golden plane, more honourable than 
that of Xerxes, under which, not a jaded king, but a 
weary monk did sit, — planted by me, watered by Apollos, 
(that is, your honourable self,) increased by God, unto my 
honour ; that there should be preserved with you a memo- 
rial of my loving toil, as Aaron's rod that budded, was, as 
Scripture says and we believe, kept in the ark. It is very 
easy to wish all this, not easy to gain. Do you, however, 
come to me, and revive my virtue, and work with me ; 
and, whatever benefit we once gained together, preserve 


14 BAS. 

for me by your prayers, lest otherwise I fade away by 
little and little, as a shadow, while the day declines. For 
you are my breath, more than the air, and so far only do I 
live, as I am in your company, either present, or, if absent, 
by your image." 

At this period, St Gregory, though he enjoyed the 
society of his friend, indulged himself in some pleasantry 
on the subject of St Basil's mode of living. The austeri- 
ties of Basil did indeed become severe : Gregory tells us, 
after St Basil's death, that " he had but one tunic and 
one outer garment ; a bed on the ground, little sleep, 
no luxurious bath : his pleasantest meal consisted of 
bread and salt, and his drink that sober liquor of which 
there is no stint, which is elaborated in the gushing 

The Ascetica of St Basil are supposed to have been written 
by him during his retreat: we say "supposed," because 
the genuineness of these treatises is disputed. At what 
time Basil was ordained is doubtful, but he was certainly 
a deacon in 359, when he attended a council held before 
Constantius, at Constantinople, to oppose the x\nomoeans. 
In 362 he was again summoned from his retirement, to 
attend the death bed of Dianius, bishop of Caesarea, to 
whom St Basil was personally attached, though to his 
principles he was much opposed. Dianius had taken part 
against St Athanasius, but seems rather to have been 
opposed to the policy of the Nicene test, with respect to 
the Homo-ousion, than really heretical. He was one of 
those who would not quarrel about a word, and had not 
sense to see that in that word the whole controversy was 
in fact involved ; which is indeed always forgotten by those 
who, in the exercise of their wit display their ignorance, 
and think it a matter of ridicule that the whole Church, 
even the world, was convulsed for the sake of an iota, 
the difference between Homo-ousion and Homoiousion. 
But so it was ; and Dianius, being weak and liberal, 
iie signed, in the year 360, the formulary of the council 

BAR. 15 

of Ariminum, in which the orthodox test of the Homo 
ousion being given up, the catholic doctrine was evaded, 
under the pretence of expressing it only in the words of 
Scripture. St Basil had ceased from that time to hold 
intercourse with him, until summoned, as we have stated, 
to his death bed, when he had the satisfaction of hearing 
his friend express in his last hours, his hearty adherence 
to the Nicene formulary. 

The Church was at this period in a critical situation. 
The apostate Julian was on the throne, prepared to assail 
her from without, and the Arian, or low church faction, 
were rending her vitals within. In this juncture, the 
bishop of Caesarea being dead, the people had the folly to 
insist upon the election of Eusebius, who was only a 
catechumen, and consequently " a novice," and the pre- 
lates had the weakness to yield to their violence, and to 
consecrate him to the vacant bishopric. 

But the first step taken by Eusebius was a wise one. 
Feeling his inadequacy to the duties imposed upon him, 
he secured the services of Basil, and, ordaining him priest 
in the year 364, acted in all things according to his 
advice. The awful responsibilities, rather than the dignity 
of the ministerial office, pressed upon the minds of Chris- 
tians at this period, and it was contrary to his own wishes 
that Basil received ordination. It was therefore with 
congenial feelings that he read a letter from Gregory, in 
which the latter said : " We have both of us been made 
priests agaiDst our inclinations; perhaps it might have 
been better for us never to have been raised to the sacer- 
dotal office. This, however, is all that I will say on the 
subject; for I am not fully conscious what have been the 
views of God respecting us. Since our lot is cast, it is our 
duty to submit ourselves to it, above all, on account of the 
times in which we live, when the tongues of heretics are let 
loose against us on every side, and to do nothing which 
may fall below either the hopes that are conceived respect- 
ing us, or the life which we have hitherto led." The times 
were the more difficult, because there was a large body in 

16 BAS. 

the Church, the Semi-arians, with whom the generous 
spirit of Basil sympathized, who were rather perplexed by 
the various explanations, refinements, and distinctions to 
which the Arian controversy had given rise, than perversely 
heterodox ; who opposed the Arians, from whom they 
had emanated, and shewed an inclination, after the death 
of Constantius, in 361, to conform to the doctrine of the 
Church. Basil's tenderness to these persons involved him 
in difficulties and suspicion throughout his life. But not- 
withstanding all the difficulties he had to encounter, his 
labours as a priest were eminently successful. He fre- 
quently preached every day in the week, and as a record 
of his labour we still possess his " Hexaemeron," or nine 
homilies on the six days of creation, which may be found 
in the first volume of the Benedictine edition of his works. 
" The simplest," says his brother, Gregory of Nyssa, 
" could comprehend his discourses, whilst the wisest 
admired them." But he preached more especially by the 
eloquence of his example. He retained in the world the 
recollected spirit of a recluse, and his life was as regular 
in the midst of his many avocations, as if he had no other 
duty to attend to, but the inspection of himself. 

Eusebius became jealous. A dispute ensued, which 
ended in a separation. The separation after the dispute 
was necessary, for the attachment of the people to Basil 
was so strong, that it would have been impossible for him, 
had he continued in his post, to prevent their forming a 
faction against their bishop, especially as their favourite 
Basil was the injured party. A weak, a wicked, or an am- 
bitious man, however much he may retain the semblance 
of piety, can never resist the temporary importance of one 
who is enabled to place himself at the head of a faction. 
Many a soul has been ruined by this : though to be the 
head of a faction requires little intellect ; the only thing 
requisite, is that flexibility of principle which will enable 
persons to act together under the most degrading of all 
bonds, though it is always the bond of religious faction, 
the bond, not of love, but hatred, — hatred directed to a 

BAS. 17 

common object. St Basil was a true churchman ; a man 
of God ; and as such was prepared to suffer, rather than 
injure the Church or damage his own soul. Once again, 
therefore, he quitted Caesarea, and retired not unwillingly 
to his monastic seclusion in Pontus. St Gregory Nazian- 
zen accompanied him, and there, in the serenity of his 
monastery, and in the society of his friend, he was 
permitted during three years of retirement, to prepare his 
soul for the greater trials which awaited him. 

For the times were not such as to permit a man of 
Basil's energy and genius to continue long in seclusion. 
Valens, the emperor, was a heretic, and determined to 
establish heresy on the ruins of Catholicism : he had 
already made havoc of the Church of Galatia, and was 
proceeding to do the same damage to the Church of Cappa- 
docia, expecting to make great gain of the divisions there, 
and the absence of Basil, and being supported by an 
army, as Gregory describes it, worthy of such a chief, and 
ready to commit any atrocity ; by bishops without piety, 
and by governors of provinces 'without humanity. He 
tried, indeed, the arts of profane governments, and by 
promises of protection and preferment, sought to win Basil 
to his side ; but Basil, true to his principles, had been 
reconciled to Eusebius, and was found at his post, man- 
fully contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, 
and utterly defeating the godless machinations of Valens, 
who was, in the words of Gregory, equally distinguished 
for the love of money and the hatred of Christ, <Pi\ox?v<roTa.To<; 

X.CLI fj(,L<TOXpl<TTOTa,TO$. 

The reconciliation between Basil and his bishop had 
been effected by Gregory Nazianzen, who first addressed 
the bishop in a letter, of which the following is a transla- 

"lam well aware that in addressing your lordship, I 

am addressing one who himself hates insincerity, and 

who has a peculiar skill in detecting it in others, however 

artfully concealed : and indeed I may say, if you will 

b 2 

18 BAS. 

pardon the impertinence, I am myself averse to it, both 
by natural disposition and from Christian education. So 
let me speak out what is Uppermost on my mind, and 
excuse my freedom. Indeed it would be an injury to me 
to restrain me and bid me keep my pain to myself, as a 
sore festering in my heart. Proud as I am of your notice, 
(for I am a man, as some one says before me,) and of your 
invitations to religious consultations and meetings, yet I 
cannot bear your holiness's past and present slight of my 
most honoured brother Basil, whom I selected from the 
first, and still possess as my friend, to live with me and 
study with me, and search with me into the deepest 
wisdom. I have no need to be dissatisfied with the 
opinion I have formed of him, and if I do not say more 
in his praise, it is lest, in enlarging on his admirable 
qualities, I should seem to be praising myself. Now, 
your favour towards me, and discountenance of him, is as 
if a man should stroke one's head with one hand, and 
with the other strike one's cheek ; or decorate a house 
with paintings and beautify the outside, while he was 
undermining its foundations. If there is any thing you 
will grant me, let it be this ; and I trust you will, for 
really it is equitable. He will certainly defer to you, if 
you do but pay a reasonable deference to him. For my- 
self, I shall come after him as shadows follow bodies, 
being small, and a lover of quiet. Miserable indeed should 
we be, if while we were desirous of wisdom in other 
matters, and to choose the better part, we yet thought 
little of that grace, which is the end of all our doctrine — 
charity ; especially in the case of one who is our bishop, 
and so eminent, as we well know, in life, in doctrine, in 
conversation, and in the government of his diocese ; for 
the truth must be spoken, whatever our private feelings 
may be." 

Gregory at the same time wrote to Basil : 
" This time calls upon us to be well-judging in our 
measures, and to bear patiently what may come upon us : 

BAS. 19 

to surpass in valour the generality of men, and to have a 
care lest all our past labour and toil should suddenly come 
to nothing. Now, why do I write thus ? It is because 
-our admirable bishop, for such in future we ought to think 
and call Eusebius, has most friendly and kind feelings 
towards us, and like steel in the fire is softened by time. 
I even expect that you will receive a communication from 
him, with pleasant words, and a summons, as he himself 
hinted to me, and many of his confidential friends assure 
me. Let us then anticipate his advances, either by our 
presence or by writing, or, what would be better still, by 
first writing and then making our appearance, lest we suf- 
fer hereafter a defeat with disgrace, when we might have 
conquered by a defeat which was honourable and dignified ; 
which, indeed, most men expect of us. Come, then, ac- 
cording to my entreaty, both on this account, and for the 
times' sake. In truth, the heretical faction is trampling 
the Church under-foot ; some of them are already among 
us and are at work ; others, it is said, will follow soon. 
Surely there is danger of their sweeping away the word 
of truth, unless the spirit of our Bezaleel speedily awake, 
that cunning master-builder of argument and doctrine. 
If you wish me to be present and to assist in this busi- 
ness, or to be the companion of your journey, I am at 
your service." 

Gregory was not at first successful with Eusebius, but 
having prevailed with him, he found Basil ready at once 
to forget as well as to forgive the past, and to act the part 
of a Christian. "It required," says Gregory, "no long 
arguments to prevail on him to come to our aid. I it was, 
who was charged by Eusebius to bear to him the unani- 
mous wish of the people for his return. As soon as he 
beheld me, without one moment's hesitation, he prepared 
to quit Pontus immediately, and to follow me ; he saw 
nothing but the fact that the Church was endangered 
by tyranny; he had no other feeling than the desire to 
support it, and to devote himself unconditionally to its 

20 BAS. 

The reconciliation when it took place was on both sides 
cordial and sincere : the aged bishop found in the energetic 
Basil the friend and coadjutor whom his advanced years 
required : and Basil was as usual successful among the 
people. " Nothing," says St Gregory in allusion to his 
conduct at this period, "could equal his zeal and courage, 
excepting his prudence and profound wisdom ; he knew, 
at once, how to regain the affection of his people, put an 
end to the disputes which divided even the orthodox, and 
separate from them those who were inimical to the truth. 
Every where was he seen joining himself to the strong, 
supporting the weak, and repulsing their adversaries, who 
were obliged, at length, to retire, without gaining a single 
advantage over them." 

In the year 368 two awful events occurred in which the 
character of St Basil displayed itself in the most amiable 
colours. Drought and famine desolated the whole of Cap- 
padocia : and dreadful as the visitation was every where, it 
was peculiarly so in Ciesarea, as its distance from the sea 
prevented the importation of foreign corn. At this junc- 
ture the rich were found inclined to speculate on the 
miseries of their fellow creatures by buying up the 
provisions that remained, in the hope of making an 
enormous profit on them as the necessities of the people 
increased. The energies of St Basil were enthusiastically 
employed on the part of the poor : he alarmed some by 
his denunciations, and melted others by his entreaties, 
and never rested until the poor were fed. Basil, assisted 
by other benevolent Christians, raised the funds for their 
support, regulated the distribution of the stores himself, 
watched over the necessities of the people, and ministered 
to their spiritual wants at the same time that he provided 
for the wants of their body. 

Is it asked where was the secret by which Basil obtained 
this wondrous influence over the minds of men? We 
answer, his preaching was powerful not in words only but 
more especially in deeds. Emmelia, his mother, was dead. 
Basil had, therefore, become once more possessed of con- 

BAS. -21 

siderable private property. He again sold his possessions, 
and it was with the sum thus realized that he provided 
daily for those who were unable to provide for themselves. 
He refused none ; neither Jew nor heathen was excluded 
from his bounty; his light shone on the evil and the good, 
for in such times the question relates not to a man's merits 
but to his wants. Mention has just been made of the 
death of St Basil's mother, Emmelia ; so that domestic 
giief was added to public care, and how deeply he felt his 
loss, he himself declares when in writing to Eusebius of 
Samosata ; he says, " I have lost the first joy of my life, — 
I have lost my mother. Do not accuse me of weakness in 
deploring, at my age, this event as lacerating to my heart. 
Oh ! do not condemn me for regretting the removal of a 
person whose place no other in this world can ever supply 
to me, and alas ! whom no other will ever resemble in my 
eyes."' The Church regarded Emmelia as a saint; and the 
loss of a saint-like mother is indeed irreparable. 

The other event to which allusion has been made as 
occuring this year was an earthquake which over- 
whelmed the city of Nice. Among those who were buried 
in its ruins was Caesarius, the brother of Gregory Xazian- 
zen. He had been extricated with difficulty, and had 
received, as it were, his life from the grave. The earth 
trembled and shook, and he was counted as one of them that 
go down into the pit, but he was spared ; and St Basil, on 
writing to congratulate him, says, " Oh that we could 
always retain the sentiments by which we are animated in 
times of danger and trial ; — then it is that we are indeed 
fully impressed with a conviction of the nothingness of 
this life, the uncertainty of all worldly things, the folly of 
those who attach themselves to them : then it is that we 
deplore our past errors ; that we form new resolutions to 
watch more narrowly over ourselves for the future, and to 
consecrate ourselves afresh and entirely to the Lord. Such 
are the sentiments you have no doubt experienced on your 
late deliverance. Look upon yourself, then, for the future, 
as a man charged, if ever there was one, with an immense 

23 BAS. 

and most sacred debt. I suggest these considerations to 
you, with mixed emotions of thankfulness for the past, 
and solicitude for the future : excuse my frankness. I 
well remember you used to like me to hold such language 
as this, with you, and I am willing to flatter myself that 
it will not at this time find you less disposed to listen to 
it favourably." 

While Basil was devoting all his thoughts and time to 
the service of the church of Caesarea, Eusebius died ; and 
his flock was now exposed to the same troubles that in- 
fested it at the time of his election. Caesarea was the 
most considerable see in the east next to Antioch ; 
the integrity of the faith in that important diocese, 
and the harmony which reigned among the people, gave 
the heretics no small uneasiness, and they were now re- 
solved to make a bold push, and to leave no stone unturned 
in order to get it into their hands. Upon this the clergy 
of Caesarea notified their bishop's death to the other pre- 
lates in the province, who hastend thither in order to pro- 
ceed to the election of a successor, and thus to defeat the 
attempts of the Arians. St Gregory, bishop of Nazianzum, 
father of St Basil's illustrious friend, was then eighty years 
old, and sick in bed, and consequently unable to assist in 
person at the choice of a new bishop. He wrote to the 
clergy and people of Caesarea, assuring them that, if it 
were but barely possible for him to be removed to that city, 
he would not fail to attend ; but, if that was not in his 
power, he gave them to understand that his vote went for 
Basil, whom he could not but prefer on this occasion, 
although he was satisfied there might be several persons 
truly worthy of that dignity. " He is a man," says that 
venerable prelate, "of sound doctrine, and pure morals ; 
and the only person, or, at least, the properest, to 
oppose the heretics, and defend the faith against their 
assaults." The same prelate sent another letter on the 
same subject to Eusebius, bishop of Samosata, and although 
not of the province, begged his assistance in the affair, 
because it concerned the whole Church. Eusebius went 

BAS. 23 

to Caesarea; where the Catholics received fresh courage 
frorn the presence of one so famous and so much esteemed ; 
which was necessary at that time ; for though there could 
be no dispute about St Basil's superior qualifications, his 
election was opposed by some of the chief persons in that 
country ; the faction was supported by great numbers of 
such as are always ready to act with their leaders, and 
their party seemed so strong that several of the bishops 
gave in to their measures, imagining they spoke the sense 
of the whole people. Eusebius undeceived the greatest 
part of them, and the old bishop of Xazianzum, under- 
standing that Basil still wanted one vote, forgot his age 
and sickness, was carried in a litter to Caesarea, and would 
have thought himself happy had he expired the moment 
he had concurred to the good work. Thus St Basil was 
regularly and canonically elected and consecrated on the 
14th of June, 370. 

Nothing is so difficult for a man in a public station as 
to act up to the opinion his friends have entertained of 
him before his promotion. But St Basil came up to 
their highest expectations. His first care was to soften 
the minds of such as were exasperated against him. 
and had been heated with the late intrigues ; he gained 
them so effectually by a noble, ingenuous, and gentle 
line of conduct without any mixture of flattery, that 
they were persuaded their salvation could not be safe, 
while they remained disobedient to this excellent prelate. 
Thus conquered by generous usage, and convinced of their 
fault by the conduct of their pastor, they endeavoured to 
recommend themselves by a virtuous and regular life, 
which was all that could entitle them to his favour, and 
convince him of the reality of their repentance. This is 
the account St Gregory has left us of his friend. 

His new dignity was not supported by a large retinue, 
a splendid table, and magnificent furniture ; humility, 
frugality and mortification were his only ornaments. His 
servants were reduced to so small a number, that he often 
wanted persons to copy his writings, carry his letters, and 

•24 BAS. 

go on the most necessary messages ; and only the poor 
knew that the revenue of his bishopric was considerable. 
His whole family was most exactly regular, and no one 
could be admitted into his house, who was not disposed to 
conform to the discipline of it. Neither the multiplicity 
of business, nor his continual infirmities, hindered him 
from often explaining the Word of God to his people on 
working days both morning and afternoon ; upon which 
occasion the tradesmen shut up their shops most willingly 
and hastened to the divine food, without any concern for 
the loss of their business in the meantime. The ardour 
his flock shewed augmented the pastor's zeal, which 
often exceeded his strength ; for which reason in one of 
his homilies he compares himself to a nurse, who has no 
milk, but is obliged, however, to give her child the breast 
to keep it from crying. He made frequent visitations of 
his whole diocese ; established ecclesiastical discipline in 
its primitive rigour ; reclaimed several who seemed to be 
lost to all sense of goodness; and employed both his tongue 
and pen in laying down excellent rules for every state of 
life, which are the subject of several of his letters and 

But the difficulties with which St Basil had to contend 
upon his first entrance upon his office were very great. 
The state of the Church internally may be surmised 
from the following letters addressed by St Basil to his 

" So great is the enormity of the crime which is the 
subject of this letter, that the very suspicion and report of 
it pained me deeply. And hitherto I did not believe it 
could have been committed. So what I shall say about it 
must be taken as a wholesome medicine by such as are 
conscious of guilt ; by the innocent as a warning ; and as 
a protest by those who stand aloof, though I trust such 
indifference is not found among you. What am I de- 
nouncing ? It is reported that some among you receive a 
price for bestowing ordination, and then give a religious 
colour to their proceeding. Should this be so, let it cease ; 

BAS. 25 

for we are bound to say to him who receives, what the 
apostles said to him who offered a price for the participa- 
tion of the Spirit, "Thy money perish with thee !" Indeed, 
it is a less sin to be ignorant that we cannot buy, than to 
sell the gift of God. For we sell what we received without 
price, and so, being sold to Satan, shall certainly lose it. 
We traffic in things spiritual, even in that Church in 
which the body and blood of Christ are given us in charge. 
This must not be. 

"The evasion of these persons is as follows. They con- 
sider they are clear of the guilt, in that they receive 
nothing before ordination, but after. But to receive is 
still to receive, whatever be the time. 

"I beseech you turn from this way of gain, or rather, of 
perdition ; nor by such pollution deprive your hands of 
the power of celebrating the holy mysteries. Let me 
speak my purpose. First, I exhort as disbelieving the 
charge; next, as if convinced, I threaten. Should any 
instance occur after this my letter, the offender shall be 
removed from the altar of his church ; for he makes a 
gain of the gift of God. We have no such custom, neither 
the churches of God. I will add one word. The love of 
money, which has caused this crime, is the root of all evil, 
and is termed in Scripture idolatry. Prefer not idols to 
Christ, for a paltry bribe ; nor be as Judas, selling Him 
afresh who was once for all crucified for us. Surely both 
the estates, and the hands of those who reap the fruits 
thereof, shall be called Aceldama." 

On another occasion he addresses his suffragan bishops 
in these terms : — 

"lam much concerned at the utter disuse, which prevails 
among us, of the canons of our fathers, and at the banish- 
ment of exact discipline from the churches ; and I am 
apprehensive lest, if this indifference goes further, ecclesi- 
astical affairs will fall into utter confusion. According to 
the ancient custom of the Church, candidates for its min- 
istry were not admitted without most careful examination. 
vol. ir. c 

26 BAS. 

Diligent inquiry was made into their manner of life, 
whether they were railers, or drunkards, or quarrelsome, 
or unable to control their youth, so as to secure that holi- 
ness, without which no one shall see the Lord. The pres- 
byters and deacons in their neighbourhood ascertained 
these points, and reported to the suffragans, who collected 
their opinions together, and laid them before the bishop : 
and then the candidate was received. But at present you 
have deprived me of the right of this report, and have 
taken the whole authority into your own hands. Next, 
you have neglected the duty thus undertaken, and have 
allowed the presbyters and deacons to introduce into the 
church whom they would, without inquiring into their 
previous life, from personal liking, either from relationship 
or other connexion. Hence, many as are the inferior 
ministers in each town, there is not, perhaps, one fit to be 
advanced to the ministry of the altar, [i. e., to the priest- 
hood and diaconate,] as, indeed, yourself acknowledge, in 
the difficulty you find in electing them. Since, then, these 
irregularities tend to irreparable mischief, especially now, 
when so many are entering the ministry to avoid conscrip- 
tion for the army, I have felt myself compelled to recur to 
the canons of our fathers ; aud I write to you for a list of 
the ministers of each town, and by whom each was recom- 
mended, and his mode of life. And I wish you to keep 
lists of your own, which may be checked by those you send 
me, so that no one may be able to introduce his name of 
himself. If any should be introduced by presbyters after 
this arrangement, they are to be put back again into the 
laity, and undergo an examination afresh. Should they 
be approved, then let them be re-admitted." 

When he was securely seated in the metropolitan see, 
like a Catholic pastor, he extended his care beyond the 
boundaries of his own province and applied himself to 
restoring the peace of the Church, torn to pieces by the 
Arian faction, and opened a correspondence with the 
illustrious St Athanasius and the bishops of the west. 
Thefo Rowing is his letter to St Athanasius : — 

BAS. 27 

" I suppose there is no one who feels such pain at 
the present condition, or rather want of condition of the 
churches, as your grace; comparing, as you naturally 
must, the present with the past, and considering the 
difference between them, and the certainty there is, if the 
evil proceeds at its present pace, that in a short time the 
churches will altogether lose their present constitution. I 
have often thought with myself, if the corruption of the 
churches seems so sad to me, what must be the feelings 
of one who has witnessed their former stability and 
unanimity in the faith. And as your holiness has more 
abundant grief, so one must suppose you have greater 
anxiety for their welfare. For myself, I have been long 
of opinion, according to my imperfect understanding of 
ecclesiastical matters, that there was one way of succouring 
our churches — viz., the co-operation of the bishops of the 
west. If they would but show, as regards our part of 
Christendom, the zeal which they manifested in the case 
of one or two heretics among themselves, there would be 
some chance of benefit to our common interests ; the civil 
power would be persuaded by the argument derived from 
their number, and the laity in each place would follow 
their lead without hesitation. Now there is no one more 
able to accomplish this than yourself, from sagacity in 
counsel, and energy in action, and sympathy for the 
troubles of the brethren, and the reverence felt by the 
west for your hoary head. Most reverend father, leave 
the world some memorial worthy of your former deeds. 
Crown your former numberless combats for religion with 
this one additional achievement. Send to the bishops of 
the west, from your holy church, men powerful in sound 
doctrine ; relate to them our present calamities ; suggest 
to them the mode of relieving us. Be a Samuel to the 
churches ; conduct their flocks harassed by war ; offer 
prayers of peace ; ask grace of the Lord, that he may give 
some token of peace to the churches. I know letters are 
but feeble instruments to persuade so great a thing; but 
while you need not to be urged on by others, more than 

28 BAS. 

generous combatants by the acclamation of boys, I, on 
the other hand, am not as if lecturing the ignorant, but 
adding speed to the earnest. 

" As to the remaining matters of the east, you would 
perhaps wish the assistance of others, and think it neces- 
sary to wait for the arrival of the western bishops. How- 
ever, there is one Church, the prosperity of which de- 
pends entirely on yourself — Antioch. It is in your power 
so to manage the one party, and to moderate the other, as 
at length to restore strength to the Church by their union. 
You know, better than any one can tell you, that, as wise 
physicians prescribe, it is necessary to begin with treating 
the more vital matters. Now what can be more vital to 
Christendom than the welfare of Antioch ? If we could 
but settle the differences there, the head being restored, 
the whole body would regain health." 

To the bishops of the West he addressed himself also : 
"The merciful God, who ever joins comfort to affliction, 
has lately given me some consolation amid my sorrows, 
in the letters which our most reverend father, Athanasius, 
has transmitted to us from your holinesses. Our afflic- 
tions are well known without my telling ; the sound of 
them has now gone forth over all Christendom. The doc- 
trines of the fathers are despised ; apostolical traditions 
are set at nought ; the speculations of innovators hold 
sway in the churches. Men have learned to be theorists 
instead of theologians. The wisdom of the world has the 
place of honour, having dispossessed the boasting of the 
cross. The pastors are driven away, grievous wolves are 
brought in instead, and plunder the flock of Christ, 
Houses of prayer are destitute of preachers ; the deserts 
are full of mourners : the old bewail, comparing what is 
with what was ; more pitiable are the young, as not knowing 
what they are deprived of. What has been said is suffi- 
cient to kindle the sympathy of those who are taught in 
the love of Christ, yet compared with the facts, it is far 
from reaching their seriousness." 

BAS. 29 

In the second letter, addressed to the bishops of Italy 
and Gaul, he says : 

" The danger is not confined to one church : not two 
or three only have fallen in with this heavy tempest. 
Almost from the borders of Illyricum down to the Thebais, 
this evil of heresy spreads itself. The doctrines of godli- 
ness are overturned ; the rules of the Church are in 
confusion ; the ambition of the unprincipled seizes upon 
places of authority; and the chief seat is now openly 
proposed as a reward for impiety ; so that he whose blas- 
phemies are the more shocking, is more eligible for the 
oversight of the people. Priestly gravity has perished ; 
there are none left to feed the Lord's flock with know- 
ledge ; ambitious men are ever spending in purposes of 
self-indulgence and bribery, possessions which they hold 
in trust for the poor. The accurate observance of the 
canons is no more ; there is no restraint upon sin. Un- 
believers laugh at what they see, and the weak are 
unsettled; faith is doubtful, ignorance is poured over 
their souls, because the adulterators of the word in wick- 
edness imitate the truth. Religious people keep silence ; 
but every blaspheming tongue is let loose. Sacred things 
are profaned ; those of the laity who are sound in faith 
avoid the places of worship as schools of impiety, and 
raise their hands in solitude, with groans and tears, to 
the Lord in heaven. While then any Christians seem 
yet to be standing, hasten to us : hasten then to us, our 
own brothers ; yea, we beseech you. Stretch out your 
hands and raise us from our knees ; suffer not the half of 
the world to be swallowed up by error, nor faith to be 
extinguished in the countries whence it first shone forth. 
What is most melancholy of all, even the portion among 
us which seems to be sound, is divided in itself, so that 
calamities beset us like those which came upon Jerusalem 
when it was besieged." 

One cannot read these passages without thanking our 
gracious God for the improved state of things in our own 
c 2 

30 BAS. 

beloved church of England ; and if, from trje oppression 
of hostile governments, our church is injured and en- 
slaved ; if there be a faction within the pale attempting 
to deface every feature and lineament of a church among 
us, still we are not yet in so bad a condition as the church 
of Antioch, under Valens. 

Valens determined, in 372, to take decided and decisive 
measures against the Catholics, and found in the prefect 
Modestus a ready instrument for his work. Modestus had 
been baptized by the Arians, when paganism was the 
fashion under Julian, he became a pagan, and now under 
Valens he was again an Arian. By the emperor's direc- 
tions, this Arian minister commanded St Basil to receive 
the Arians into communion. Both emperor and minister 
saw the sound policy of thus healing at once all religious 
differences : they regarded the points of difference as of 
no importance ; but the Church was not at that time en- 
slaved to the state, neither were bishops nominees of the 
minister, and emperor and minister found the Church too 
powerful for them. The minister of Valens summoned 
before him the minister of God, and knowing how his own 
worldly mind would be influenced, he endeavoured first 
by promises, and then by threats, to prevail on St Basil 
to yield to the emperor's demands. The colloquy between 
the bishop and the minister is on record. " What," said 
the insolent minister, " what is the meaning of this, you 
Basil, that you dare to resist so great a prince, and, when 
others yield, are still self-willed." " What would you have 
me do?" answered Basil; "What is my extravagance? 
I have not heard it." 

" Modestus. You are not worshipping after the em- 
peror's manner, when the rest of your party have given 
way and been overcome. 

" Basil. I have a Sovereign whose will is otherwise, 
nor can I bring myself to worship any creature, — I, a crea- 
ture of God, and commanded to become a partaker of the 
divine nature. 

BAS. 31 

" Modestus. For whom do you take me '? 

" Basil. For a thing of nought, while such are your 

" Modestus. Is it, then, a mere nothing for one like 
you to have rank like myself, and to have my fellowship. 

" Basil. You are prefect, and in noble place ; I own 
it. Yet God's majesty is greater ; and it is much that 
I am to have your fellowship, for we are both God's crea- 
tures. But it is as great to be fellow to any other of my 
flock, for Christianity lies not in distinction of persons, 
but in faith. 

" The prefect, angered at this, rose from his chair, and 
abruptly asked Basil if he did not fear his power. 

" Basil. Fear what consequences *? what sufferings ? 

"Modestus. One of those many pains a prefect can 

" Basil. Let me know them. 

" Modestus. Confiscation, exile, tortures, death. 

" Basil. Think of some other threat. These have no 
influence upon me. He runs no risk of confiscation who 
has nothing to lose, except these mean garments and a 
few books. Nor does he care for exile, who is not circum- 
scribed by place, who makes it not a home w r here he now 
dwells, but everywhere a home whithersoever he be cast, 
or rather everywhere God s home, whose pilgrim he is 
and wanderer. Nor can tortures harm a frame so frail as 
to break under the first blow. You could but strike 
once, and death would be gain. It would but send 
me the sooner to Him for whom I live and labour, nay, 
am dead rather than live, to whom I have long been 

" Modestus. Xo one yet ever spoke to Modestus with 
such freedom. 

" Basil. Perad venture Modestus never yet fell in with 
a bishop ; or surely in a like trial he would have heard 
like language. prefect, in other things we are gentle, 
and more humble than all men living, for such is the 
commandment; so as not to raise our brow. I sav not 

32 BAS. 

against ' so great a prince,' but even against one of least 
account. But when God's honour is at stake, we think 
of nothing else, looking simply to Him. Fire and the 
sword, beasts of prey, irons to rend the flesh, are an in- 
dulgence rather than a terror to a Christian. Therefore 
insult, threaten, do your worst, make the most of your 
power. Let the emperor be informed of my purpose. Me 
you gain not, you persuade not, to an impious creed, by 
menaces, even more frightful." 

After this conversation, the prefect felt convinced that 
no arguments he could use would be of sufficient force to 
subdue such heroic courage ; he therefore suffered Basil 
to depart, and could not refrain, in taking leave of him, 
from testifying his respect for his principles. On his 
return to the emperor, "Prince," said he to him, "we 
are vanquished : the bishop of Caesarea is one of those 
men whom threats cannot terrify, arguments convince, 
or promises seduce." The emperor was wise enough to 
forbear from violence towards such an adversary, and, 
perhaps, generous enough to admire the very integrity he 
had hoped to corrupt ; Basil was therefore left in peace, 
as far as his own personal safety, and that of the people 
immediately under his care was concerned. 

Valens even went further ; he attended the church 
accompanied by his court, on the feast of Epiphany, and 
heard Basil preach. And he was deeply affected by what 
he saw and heard ; by the solemnity of the psalms, 
chanted antiphonally, by the reverence, devotion, and 
order which prevailed in the congregation, as well as by 
the sermon of Basil. The holy bishop standing at the 
altar, fixed in his great ministry, and his mind entirely 
taken up with the God he adored, and all who at- 
tended him full of reverence and respect, was a glo- 
rious sight, and inspired in him such awe for the 
service of God, and such a respect for our great pre- 
late, that when he was to carry his offering to the holy 
table, he trembled so violently that he must have fallen, 
had not one of the ministers of the altar supported 

BAS. 33 

him. This offering, as we learn from St Gregory Nazian- 
zen's account, was bread which every communicant made 
with his own hands, and was consecrated in the holy 

This was not the only time that Valens appeared at 
church. He one day went within the veil, into what some 
suppose to have been the vestry, others the enclosure of 
the altar, where the emperors were admitted, according to 
the custom of the eastern churches. That prince had been 
long desirous of conversing with St Basil, and took this 
opportunity of enjoying that pleasure. Their discourse 
turned on matters of faith ; St Gregory Xazianzen, who 
made one at the conference, assures us that the principal 
officers of the court, who were present on that occasion, 
were obliged to own that Basil talked divinely ; and 
Theodoret, after giving us the same account, tells us the 
emperor was so well pleased with his discourse, that he 
became more gentle to the Catholics, and gave a good 
estate in that neighbourhood for the relief of lepers, of 
whom the holy bishop took care, and afterwards erected 
an hospital for their reception. 

Basil, though so firm in principle, was at the same time 
a conciliator, and finding that many of the semi-arians 
were orthodox in fact, though not in form, he dealt so 
gently with them, that he had at one time to defend him- 
self from the charge of being one of the number. [See 
the life of Basil of Ancyra, infra.'] This he could easily do, 
though his attachment to Eustathius, whom he refused to 
denounce, until proof of his guilt became too apparent to 
be denied, involved him in much trouble. Eustathius, of 
Sebaste, a finished hypocrite, had been the friend and 
companion of St Basil, on his first retirement to Pontus : 
the form which the fanaticism of the age assumed was 
that of asceticism, and, won by the assumed asceticism of 
Eustathius, St Basil gave him his friendship, although 
his integrity was suspected by almost every one else. In 
372 or 373 the eyes of Basil were opened, but it was 
only by degrees ; such was the firmness of his friendship. 

34 BAS. 

He was invited by Theodotus, bishop of Nicopolis, in 
Little Armenia, to a council, in which the conduct and 
principles of Eustathius were to be considered; as Sebaste 
was situated within the province of Theodotus, and 
Theodotus had refused communion with Eustathius as 
an Arian. St Basil, like a true friend, determined first 
to have an interview with Eustathius, who satisfied him 
of his orthodoxy. Theodotus, in consequence, revoked 
the invitation he had sent to Basil, and Basil meekly, and 
without resenting the insult, returned to Caesarea. He 
still continued, notwithstanding the injury his own cha- 
racter sustained by his conduct, to defend Eustathius, 
and in order to satisfy the Armenian bishops of his 
orthodoxy, he undertook to make him sign an orthodox 
confession, containing the Nicene creed, and condemning 
not only the Arian heresy, but the heresies also of Mar 
cellus and Sabellius. Eustathius signed the confession, 
and in order to acquit him, St Basil, in the zeal of his 
friendship, called a synod of the bishops of Cappadocia 
and Armenia ; when the assembled prelates were perhaps 
less astonished than Basil, to hear that Eustathius had 
revoked his subscription. He had been tampered with 
by the court ; he thought that Valens was more likely to 
be a good patron than Basil ; and becoming a supporter 
of government, though the government was hostile to the 
Church, he declaimed with fury against the Catholics in 
general, and especially against Basil, who did not con- 
descend to enter into controversy with him, but considered 
the calumnies of Eustathius to be sufficiently refuted by 
the comparison which all who knew them both were 
capable of instituting between the conduct and the cha- 
racters of the two men. 

But in one instance he w T as obliged to come forward in 
defence not of himself but of his church. Eustathius, 
by his intrigues, caused the separation of a portion 
of the coast of Pontus from the church of Caesarea, 
and St Basil addressed an expostulation to the sepa- 
ratists : " Hitherto," he wrote, " I have lived in much 

BAS. 35 

affliction and grief, ever reflecting that you are wanting 
to me. For when God tells me, — even God who became 
incarnate for the very purpose that by patterns of 
duty, He might regulate our life, and might by His 
own voice announce to us the gospel of the kingdom — 
when He, even God saith, ■ By this shall men know 
that ye are My disciples, if ye love one another;' 
and whereas the Lord left His true peace to His disciples 
as a favourite gift, when about to complete the dispensa- 
tion in the flesh, saying, " Peace I leave with you, My 
peace I give unto you," I cannot persuade myself that 
without love to others, and without, as far as rests with 
me, peaceableness towards all, I can be called a worthy 
servant of Jesus Christ. I have waited a long while for 
the chance of your love paying us a visit. For ye are not 
ignoraut that we, being exposed to all, as rocks running 
out into the sea, sustain the fury of the heretical waves, 
which, in that they break around us, do not cover the 
district behind. I say ' we,' in order to refer it, not to 
human power, but to the grace of God, who, by the 
weakness of men shows His power, as says the prophet 
in the person of the Lord, ' Will ye not fear Me, who 
have placed the sand as a boundary to the sea ?' for 
by the weakest and most contemptible of all things, 
the sand, the Mighty One has bounded the great and 
full sea. Since, then, this is our position, it became 
your love to be frequent in sending true brothers, to 
visit us who labour in the storm, and more frequently 
letters of love, partly to confirm our courage, partly to 
correct any mistake of ours. For we confess that we are 
liable to numberless mistakes, being men, and living in 
the flesh. 

" Let not this consideration influence you. ' We dwell 
on the sea, we are exempt from the sufferings of the gene- 
rality, we need no succour from others ; so what is the 
good to us of foreign communion?' For the same Lord 
who divided the islands from the continent by the sea, 
bound the island Christians to the continental by love. 

36 BAS. 

Nothing, brethren, separates us from each other, but de- 
liberate estrangement. We have one Lord, one faith, the 
same hope. The hands need each other ; the feet steady 
each other. The eyes possess their clear apprehension 
from agreement. We, for our part, confess our own 
weakness, and we seek your fellow-feeling. For we are 
assured, that though ye are not present in body, yet by 
the aid of prayer, ye will do us much benefit in these 
most critical times. It is neither decorous before men, 
nor pleasing to God, that you should make avowals which 
not even the gentiles adopt, which know not God. Even 
they, as we hear, though the country they live in be suffi- 
cient for all things, yet, on account of the uncertainty of 
the future, make much of alliances with each other, and 
seek mutual intercourse as being advantageous to them. 
Yet we, the sons of fathers who have laid down the law, 
that by brief notes the proofs of communion should be 
carried about from one end of the earth to the other, and 
that all should be citizens and familiars with all, now 
sever ourselves from the whole world, and are neither 
ashamed at our solitariness, nor shudder that on us 
is fallen the fearful prophecy of the Lord, ■ Because of 
lawlessness abounding, the love of the many shall wax 

Although we know not what effect this striking epistle 
had upon the separatists, it is given here as illustrative of 
St Basil's character ; a peculiarity of which displayed 
itself in his conduct towards Gregory Nazianzen. There 
is a jealousy in friendship which is apt to evince itself 
when of two friends who lived on terms of equality, one 
is advanced to a high station. And in Gregory's sensitive 
nature this was to be expected. Soon after Basil's ap- 
pointment to the exarchate, Basil seems to have been 
annoyed at Gregory's keeping aloof from him, and Gregory 
seems to have kept aloof, thinking that Basil ought to 
have pressed his attendance. We suspect the existence 
of some such almost unconscious sensitiveness on the 
part of Gregory, though doubtless he was sincere in 

BAS. 37 

stating that the reason of his staying away, was a feeling 
of delicacy lest his friend should appear to be collecting 
partizans about him. When Gregory did visit St Basil, 
though he was received with every mark of attention and 
respect, he did not remain long in Caasarea, and in their 
subsequent correspondence there appears to have been a 
little touchiness on both sides. These mutual heart- 
burnings ended at last in a quarrel, under the circum- 
stances about to be related. 

The province of Cappadocia was found to be too large 
for one civil magistrate, and being divided into two, the 
two provinces had Caesarea and Tyana for their respective 
capitals. Anthemus, the bishop of Tyana, immediately 
made the attempt to erect his city into a metropolitan 
see, and thus to sever half the province from the arch- 
bishop of Caesarea. Hence a controversy ensued ; on the 
one side was Basil and justice, on the other the arian- 
izing bishops, and all the low church party who had 
opposed the election of Basil. On this occasion Gregory 
offered his assistance to his friend, though not without a 
hint that there had been mismanagement on the side of 
Basil. " I will come to you," wrote Gregory, " if you 
wish it ; if so be, to advise with you, if the sea wants 
water, or you a counsellor ; at all events, to gain benefit 
and act the philosopher, by bearing ill usage in your 

Gregory accordingly attended Basil in his visitation of 
the second Cappadocia ; and when the archbishop deter- 
mined on the erection of certain new bishoprics in the 
district, and appointed Gregory to that of Sasima, Basil 
thought much of the Church and too little of his friend. 
He 'thought that Gregory could not be more usefully 
employed than in the superintendence of the church of 
Sasima, and therefore, without regard to his feelings, he 
immediately placed him there. Whereas Gregory was 
thinking chiefly of his friend, and only came into Cappa- 
docia that he might be near to him, have frequent 
vol. ii. n 

38 BAS„ 

intercourse with him, and become his adviser. When he 
found that Basil acted as if he disregarded him as a 
counsellor and seemed to make light of his friendship, his 
sensitive nature was deeply wounded. He wrote a very 
indignant letter on the subject to Basil ; and although 
Gregory, to use a common expression, " lost himself" on 
the occasion, by thinking more highly of himself than a 
Christian man ought to do, yet certainly it does seem 
that Basil might have found an inferior man better quali- 
fied for the situation at Sasima, than the sensitive Gre- 
gory, who, writing with some heat, exclaimed : " Give me 
peace and quiet above all things. Why should I be 
fighting for sucklings and birds, which are not mine, as if 
in a matter of souls and- church rules? Well, play the 
man, be strong, turn every thing to your own glory, as 
rivers suck up the mountain rill, thinking little of friend- 
ship or intimacy, compared with high aims and piety, 
and disregarding what the w r orld will think of you for 
all this, being the property of the Spirit alone ; while, on 
my part, so much shall I gain from this your friendship, 
not to trust in friends, nor to put anything above God." 

We conclude our reference to this unhappy dispute, 
with a remark, which in effect we made before, that all 
the ardour of friendship was on the side of Gregory, and 
that he received in return from Basil, the respect and 
esteem which such attachment and so much virtue could 
not fail to conciliate, rather than that enthusiastic admira- 
tion and warmth of affection, in which true friendship 
consists. The estrangement was not of long duration, 
though to the last, even when apologizing for his friend 
after his death, for this very transaction, the wounded 
feelings of Gregory betrayed themselves. 

We have alluded already to a grant of land which St 
Basil obtained from Valens, and many other grants he 
obtained from the wealthy and the noble, thinking that 
he benefited them by whatever he could draw from their 
superfluous stores, for the good of the poor. With funds 

BAS. 39 

thus collected, he accomplished one of the noblest under- 
takings ever planned by human benevolence, the Ptocho- 
tropheion, called also, the Basileias, an hospital, and 
workhouse combined, which Gregory describes in the fol- 
lowing terms. This " new town, raised on the confines 
of the old, was open to every description of human 
misery and necessity ; in it, all the infirmities and acci- 
dents to which our material nature is liable were care- 
fully attended to ; medical attendants, nurses, guides for 
the blind, the crippled, and the aged, were attached to it : 
and, in the true spirit of Christian charity, spacious 
apartments were added expressly for the lepers, who, till 
then chased from place to place, and even driven out of 
all human haunts, found there the attentions and solace 
which their peculiar affliction so earnestly called for. 
Here, likewise, strangers were received with brotherly 
cordiality, and treated with liberal though simple hospi- 
tality. Careful, at the same time, that a charity meant 
for the amelioration of the human race should in no way 
be suffered to minister to its corruptions, Basil provided 
spacious rooms and workshops for different handicrafts 
and mechanical occupations, where all who were desirous 
of employment could obtain it : and where those who 
might be able were required to add their quota, towards 
the funds of which they were reaping the benefits ; for he 
knew the human heart too well not to dread the evils of 
idleness ; aware that nothing injures moral integrity so 
soon as a willingness to live in a state of indolence, 
dependent on the exertion of others. " Happy is he who 
supports his neighbour," says St Ambrose; "but woe 
unto him who needlessly allows his neighbour to support 

This appears to be a model for an infirmary and a 

The health of Basil, always delicate, had become very 
bad in the year 373, and so continued till his death : 
nevertheless, in 374 he commenced his celebrated work, 
De Spiritu Sancto ; and in 376 was roused to publish a 

40 BAS. 

circular, in reply to the calumnies of Eustathius. To his 
ill health we may attribute the reserve, and as we should 
say, nervousness, of which he has been sometimes accused 
by his enemies, and which was regarded by some after 
his elevation, as a sign of pride. But, as Gregory asks, 
"Is it possible for a man to embrace lepers, abasing 
himself so far, and yet be supercilious towards those in 
health ?" 

At length, worn out by the austerities of his life, the 
ardour of his zeal, the extent of his labors, and the 
repeated attacks of his disorder, this great man found his 
end approaching. He called his friends and disciples 
around him, and having blessed them, and commended 
them to God, he made such arrangements as he thought 
necessary for the Church militant, ere his spirit passed 
unto the Church triumphant, and having conjured them 
with his dying breath, to hold fast the faith, to be un- 
wearied in well-doing, and to love one another, he departed 
this life, calmly saying, " Lord Jesus, into Thy hands I 
commend my spirit." 

His death occurred on the first of January, 379 ; and 
never was a death more universally lamented : all persons, 
even jews and heathens, went forth to honour his remains 
as his body was carried to the grave : and his funeral, 
from the prodigious concourse of people that attended it, 
including almost all the most dignified persons in the 
country, afforded an extraordinary contrast to the poverty 
and simplicity of his own habits during life. 

The Benedictine edition of St Basil was edited by 
Julian Grander, and was published at Paris, in folio, in 
17-21, 17 '2'2, and 1730. The Basil edition was published 
in 1551, and another folio edition in 1638. — Life of 
Basil, in third volume of Benedictine edition. Basilii Opera. 
Gregor. Nazian. Cave. Church of the Fathers. Fleury. 

Basil. The friend and fellow-student of St Chrysostom, 
of whom all that is known is to be gathered from the 

BAS. 11 

following passage from the first book of St Chrysostom de 
Sacerdotio ; that book being the record of certain conver- 
sations between St Chrysostom and the subject of the 
present article : 

" He was one of my constant companions ; we pursued 
the same sciences, attended the same instructors ; the 
same purposes in learning, the same care was common 
to both, and to both, from like matters, like desires arose. 
Xor was this only while we were under discipline, but also 
when freed from it it behoved us to consider what course 
in life was most worthy to be chosen — even then we held 
the same opinion. 

" There were other things also which preserved unbro- 
ken this unanimity. Neither of us could boast himself 
above the other on account of distinction of country : I 
had no great hope of fortune — he was oppressed by ex- 
treme poverty. The similarity of our fortunes kept pace 
with our intentions ; our families were of equal rank ; and 
in all things we corresponded in our wishes. 

" When, however, the time approached for this blessed 
man to embrace the monastic life and the true philosophy, 
then the balance lost its equilibrium — his scale, from its 
lightness, mounted upward ; whilst I, then entangled by 
worldly desires, depressed mine overloaded with youthful 
fancies. Even here our friendship was as firm as ever, 
but our intimacy was interrupted ; nor can it exist between 
those who are not united by the same pursuits. Yet, when 
I raised my head a little from out the waves of this life, 
he seized me with both his hands; but we could no 
longer regain our former equality. He had outstripped 
me in time, and by unremitting application had soared far 
beyond me. So kind was he, and so highly did he estimate 
my friendship that, withdrawing himself from all inter- 
course with others, he passed all his time with me, which, 
as I have said, was previously his wish, but had been pre- 
vented by my indifference. Xor was it possible for any 
one who attended the courts of justice, and who pursued 
d 2 

42 BAS. 

scenic entertainments, to be intimate with another who 
devoted himself to books and never approached the forum. 
For this reason, in spite of all former repulse, that he 
might allure me to the same course of life with himself, 
the desire that he had long laboured with, he quickly gave 
birth to ; and suffering no part of the day to be spent away 
from me, he assiduously advised our leaving our homes, 
and passing our lives together. He gained my consent, 
and thus the matter stood. But the endearments of an 
anxious mother opposed my granting him this favour, or 
rather, my accepting this kindness from him. 

" While matters stood thus between us — he frequently 
importuning, I in my turn refusing — a rumour newly 
risen disturbed us both : it was reported that we were 
about to be promoted to the episcopal dignity. When I 
heard this I was struck at once with fear and perplexity . 
with fear, lest I should be taken against my will ; with 
perplexity, when I strove to discover by what means it 
had entered mens' minds to think of a matter of this 
nature for us. For when I examined myself, I found no 
sufficient cause for such an honour. But my generous 
friend, coming to me privately, mentioned the rumour to 
me, as if I were ignorant of it, and begged we might 
here seem as unanimous as before in our designs and 
actions. As for him, he was prepared to follow the course 
I might adopt, whether rejection or acceptance of the 
office. Having perceived therefore in him so ready an 
inclination, and having considered, that if through my 
infirmity I deprived the flock of Christ of so good a mind, 
and one so qualified to guide it, I should do an injury to 
the whole church community, I concealed the opinion I 
held, though I had never before suffered any of my 
designs to be hidden from him ; but telling him it were 
better to defer our consideration of this subject to another 
time, (nor was it in truth an urgent matter) I soon per- 
suaded him to think no more about it ; as far as I was 
concerned, I assured him, if the thing should come to 
pass, he might rely on my concurrence. After no great 

BAS. 48 

length of time, as the day for the imposition of hands 
drew nigh, I concealed myself unknown to him : my 
friend, led on by some other pretence, received ordination, 
relying on my promises of following him, or rather he 
hoping to follow me. Some of those who were present 
witnessing his uneasiness at being thus caught, misled 
him by declaring, that it was absurd that he who in all 
things appeared to be the bolder of the two, (meaning me) 
should yield with so much modesty to the determination 
of the fathers ; and that he, usually the milder and the 
more prudent, should be so confident and vain as to resist 
it. He yielded to these remonstrances : but when he 
heard that I had fled purposely, he approached me with 
shame and sorrow ; he seated himself near me, and strove 
to give utterance to something. But his grief prevented 
him ; nor could he summon courage to utter a word, his 
anguish of mind cutting off all he intended to say before 
it had passed his lips. When, however, I saw him so 
bedewed with tears and troubled, knowiDg the cause, 
I smiled with delight, and seizing his hand, made an 
effort to salute him ; glorifying God, who gave me that 
favourable issue to my stratagem, for which I had always 

In the Benedictiue edition of St Chrysostom, this Basil 
is supposed to have been bishop of Rappauea, near 
Antioch, a prelate w T ho was present at the council of 
Constantinople, in 381. Dupin cannot decide whether 
this conjecture or another, that he was a bishop of Byblos, 
in Phcenicia, be the most probable. — Chrysostom, de 

Basil, of Ancyra. Of the personal history of this 
Basil little is known ; he was one of the leaders of the 
Semi-arian party which existed in the Church during the 
fourth century. On referring to the life of Arius, the 
reader will perceive what the Arian doctrines are, and 
that the heresiarch received the countenance of a party 
headed by Eusebius, and thence frequently styled Euse- 

44 BAS. 

bians. These persons were more anxious to maintain a 
party than to establish a dogma, or rather the Arian 
dogma was valued by them as the distinction of then- 
party, and they were willing to modify or explain their 
dogma, according to circumstances : they were especially 
desirous of conciliating the Latins, and endeavoured to 
persuade them that the difference between themselves and 
the orthodox was chiefly verbal, and relating to the word 
Homo-ousion. They had in consequence admitted the 
use of the term Homoi-ousion, by which it was asserted 
that the Son was of a like nature with the Father. But 
although the leaders were influenced merely by party 
feelings, those who were brought into the vortex of the 
party by the circumstances under which they were 
placed, and were honest in heart, received the dogma 
as a reality, and perplexed the party leaders by binding 
them down to the real import of those words, which had 
originally been chosen as mere evasions of orthodoxy. 
The Homoi-ousion being thus received, many persons 
were found to explain it almost in the orthodox sense ; 
their dispute with the Catholics did in many instances 
become little more than verbal, and hence they were 
dealt with gently by such men as St Basil the great. 
The Semi-arians were found to be as strongly opposed 
to the pure Arians, as those who accepted the Nicene 
test. Thus was the word, first invented as an evasion 
by the Arians, used as a test against them by the Semi- 
arians, who merely refused to accept the Homo-ousion 
because they imagined that it implied an approach 
to Sabellianism. But although the Semi-arians repudiated 
the evasion of the Eusebians or pure Arians, that the 
word Son had but a secondary sense, and that our Lord 
was in reality a creature, though not like other creatures ; 
nevertheless, when they formed a distinct party, their 
creed was condemned by the orthodox, as involving those 
contradictions in terms, which the Nicene doctrine 
escapes : the Semi-arians maintained against the Arians 
that the Son was born before all time, and yet they con- 

BAS. 45 

tended against the Catholics that He was not eternal : in 
opposition to the Arians they asserted that He was not a 
creature, and yet they refused to assent to the Catholic 
truth that He is God : they affirmed Him to be of His 
substance, so again opposing the Arians, — yet not of the 
same substance, and thus rejecting the Homo-ousion. 
Thus they tried to hold the via media in the controversy, 
and in so doing were led into these contradictions, which 
were gradually discovered by the more earnest-minded 
among them, and led them to embrace the Catholic truth. 

The Semi- arians seem in fact to have consisted of the 
really religious men who were at first involved in the 
Arian faction ; and Semi-arianism, with its contradictory 
propositions, was the first step towards a return to 

Such was the party of which Basil of Ancyra was one. 
He was a native of Ancyra, and of that see he was made 
bishop by the Eusebiau council of Constantinople, in 
336, when Marcellus was deposed. 

Marcellus had been an energetic defender of the 
Catholic faith at Nice, but in defending the truth he 
afterwards approached the very verge of Sabellianism, 
having contended that the Logos was the eternal wisdom of 
God, and could be called the Son of God only whilst dwel- 
ling in the human form. He, nevertheless, so explained 
his positions as to maintain or recover his orthodoxy, 
which was acknowledged by Julius, bishop of Rome, by 
St Athanasius, and by the council of Sardica; although on 
the other hand, later Catholic Fathers, Basil the great, St 
Chrysostom, and others, condemn him. Against him 
Basil employed his pen, in a work which has been lost. 
But whatever was the character of the doctrine taught by 
Marcellus, his pupil, Photinus, bishop of Smyrna, taught 
Sabellianism without disguise, and was condemned, not 
only by the Eusebians at the council of Antioch, in 343, 
but even by the western church, at a council held at 
Milan, in 346. At the first council of Sirmium, in 351, 
he met a formidable opponent in Basil ; a disputation 

46 BAS. 

being carried on between them in the presence of Con- 
stantius. Photinus was formally deprived of his bishopric. 

Basil, having thus attacked a heresy in the one ex- 
treme, encountered the opposite heresy at the second 
synod of Sirmium, in 357, where the pure Arians first 
met with an organized opposition from a section of their 
own party. The pure Arians were in this synod the 
stronger party, and rejected every form of the Homoi- 
ousion doctrine. They were henceforth known by the 
name of Anomseans, persons who held the Son to be 
unlike the Father, — adopting the notions of Arius without 
any variation. Basil, to oppose them, assembled a synod 
at Ancyra, in 358, at which the Semi-arian doctrine was 
confirmed and the Arian rejected. Through the persua- 
sive eloquence of Basil, the emperor Constantius was led 
to unite himself with the Semi-arian party, and a third 
synod at Sirmium, in 358, rejected the confession of faith 
adopted at the second, and confirmed the anathemas of 
the synod of Ancyra. From this time the strife between 
the Arians and Semi-arians was incessant, and the faction 
destroyed itself, while Catholic truth was every where 
gaining ground. 

Basil used all his influence with the emperor to obtain 
the convocation of an oecumenical council, but counter 
influence was used by the Eusebians, under Acacius, of 
Caesarea, and the intrigues on both sides ended in the 
meeting of a double council, one at Seleucia, and the 
other at Ariminum ; the first for the prelates of the east, 
and the other for those of the west. Although the council 
of Seleucia had sanctioned the Semi-arian creed, Con- 
stantius was persuaded by deputies from both councils, 
and by the influence of Acacius, to believe that Basil was 
the sole impediment to the peace of the the Church. He 
summoned a council of neighbouring bishops, chiefly 
those of Bithynia : various charges of a civil and ecclesi- 
astical nature were here alleged against Basil and other 
Semi-arians, with what degree of truth it is impossible at 

BAS. 47 

this day to determine, and sentence of deposition was 
pronounced against them. This was in the year 360. 

Of Basil nothing more is heard except that he pre- 
sented a petition for restitution to the orthodox em- 
peror Jovian, in 364, without success. He probably 
died in exile. — Maimbourg. Newman. Fleury. Gfuiseler. 

Basil, Martyr and Saint, was a priest of Ancyra, and 
a contemporary of the bishop, to whom the preceding 
article refers. He distinguished himself by his orthodoxy 
when the court was Arian, and was suspended from his 
priestly functions by the Arian council of Constantinople, 
in 360. 

When Julian the apostate re-established idolatry, and 
left no means untried to pervert the faithful, Basil ran 
through the whole city, exhorting the Christians to 
continue stedfast, and not pollute themselves with the 
sacrifices and libations of the heathens, but fight manfully 
in the cause of God. The heathens laid violent hands 
on him, and dragged him before Satuminus, the pro- 
consul, accusing him of sedition, of having overturned 
altars, that he stirred up the people against the gods, and 
had spoken irreverently of the emperor and his religion. 
The proconsul asked him if the religion which the emperor 
had established was not the truth? The martyr an- 
swered : ' Can you yourself believe it ? Can any man 
endued with reason persuade himself that dumb statues 
are gods ?' The proconsul commanded him to be tortured 
on the rack, and scoffing, said to him, under his torments : 
' Do not you believe the power of the emperor to be great, 
who can punish those who disobey him ? Experience is 
an excellent master, and will inform you better. Obey 
the emperor, worship the gods, and offer sacrifice.' The 
martyr, who prayed during his torments, with great 
earnestness, replied: 'It is what I never will do.' The 
proconsul remanded him to prison, and informed his 
master Julian of what he had done. The emperor 

48 BAS. 

approved of his proceedings, and dispatched Elpidius and 
Pegasus, two apostate courtiers, in quality of commissa- 
ries, to assist the proconsul in the trial of the prisoner. 
They took with them from Nicomedia one Asclepius, a 
wicked priest of Esculapius, and arrived at Ancyra. 
Basil did riot cease to praise and glorify God in his 
dungeon, and Pegasus repaired thither to him, in hopes 
by promises arjd intreaties, to work him into compliance : 
but he came back to the proconsul highly offended at the 
liberty with which the martyr had reproached him with 
his apostacy. At the request of the commissaries, the 
proconsul ordered him to be again brought before them, 
and tormented on the rack with greater cruelty than 
before ; and afterwards to be loaded with the heaviest 
irons, and lodged in the deepest dungeon. 

When Julian arrived at Ancyra, he put Basil to death, 
under circumstances of peculiar horror, commanding his 
skin to be torn off in several places. This happened in 
362. Alban Butler concludes his notice of this saint with 
the following observations : 

" The love of God, which triumphed in the breasts of 
the martyrs, made them regard as nothing whatever 
labours, losses, or torments, they suffered for its sake, 
according to that of the canticles : If a man shall have 
given all that he piossesses, he will despise it as nothing. If 
the sacrifice of worldly honours, goods, friends, and life, 
be required of such a one, he makes it with joy, saying 
with the royal prophet, What have I desired in heaven, or 
on earth, besides Thee, God ! Thou art my portion for 
ever. If he lives deprived of consolation, and joy, in 
interior desolation and spiritual dryness, he is content to 
bear his cross, provided he be united to his God by love, 
and says, my God and my all, if I possess You, I have all 
things in You alone : whatever happens to me, with the 
treasure of Your love I am rich and sovereignly happy. 
This he repeats in poverty, disgraces, afflictions, and 
persecutions. He rejoices in them, as by them he is 
more closely united to his God, gives the strongest proof 

BAS. 40 

of His fidelity to him, and perfect submission to His divine 
appointments, and adores the accomplishment of His will. 
If it be the property of true love, to receive crosses with 
content and joy, to sustain great labours, and think them 
small, or rather not to think of them at all, as they bear 
no proportion to the prize, to what we owe to God, or to 
what His love deserves : to suffer much, and think all 
nothing, and the longest and severest trials short : is it 
not a mark of a want of this love, to complain of prayer, 
fasts, and every Christian duty ? How far is this dis- 
position from the fervour and resolution of all the saints, 
and from the heroic courage of the martyrs ?" — Allan 

Basil, archbishop of Seleucia, a city of Isauria, flou- 
rished in the time of the Eutychian controversy, or the 
middle of the fifth century. He was present at the 
council of Constantinople in 448, and then he joined in 
the condemnation of Eutyches and his heresy. But in 
the council of Ephesus, under Dioscorus, in 449, he 
joined in the condemnation of Flavian and of the Catholic 
faith. He returned to orthodoxy, and apologized for 
his conduct at the council of Chalcedon, in 451. From 
this it would appear that he was not a man of very 
fixed principles. His works are numerous, and still 
extant. An account of them is given by Dupin, but 
they do not appear to be of much importance. Photinus 
speaks of him as an imitator of St Chrysostom, but Dupin 
remarks that the homilies of the celebrated patriarch of 
Constantinople consist of two parts ; in the first he ex- 
plains Scripture according to the letter, and joins to it 
some moral reflections ; in the second, St Chrysostom 
takes in hand some moral doctrine, which he treats of at 
considerable length. Basil of Seleucia meddles not with 
the last part, but contents himself with imitating the first. 
— Dupin. Tillemont. Cave. 

vol. u. b 

50 BAS. 

Basilides. A gnostic, whose native land was Syria, or 
a province more to the east ; according to Tillemont he 
left the Church in the time of Trajan, and appeared 
chiefly in the time of Adrian. Basnage represents him 
as flourishing in the year 121; Mill, in the year 123; 
Cave, in 112, or soon after. He certainly lived near the 
time of the Apostles, and we are told by Clement, of 
Alexandria, that Basilides, or his followers, boasted that 
he had been taught by Glaucias, a disciple of St Peter. 
Theodoret says that Menander was his master. 

The following is the account of his heresy given by 
St Irenseus : 

"Basilides taught that from the self-existent Father was 
born Nous or Understanding ; of Nous, Logos ; of Logos, 
Phronesis, Prudence or Providence ; of Phronesis, Sophia 
and Dunamis, Wisdom and Power ; of Dunamis and 
Sophia, Powers, Principalities, and Angels, whom they 
call the superior angels, by whom the first heaven was 
made ; from these proceeded other angels and other 
heavens, to the number of 365, both angels and heavens : 
and therefore there are so many days in the year answer- 
able to the number of the heavens. Farther they say 
that the angels which uphold the lower heaven, seen by 
us, made all things in this world, and then divided the 
earth among themselves. And the chief of these, they 
say, is he who is thought to be the God of the jews. And 
because he would bring other nations into subjection to 
the jews, the other princes opposed him, and other nations 
opposed that people. But the self-existent and ineffable 
Father seeing them in danger of being ruined, sent his 
first begotten Nous, who also is said to be Christ, for the 
salvation of such as believe in Him, and to deliver them 
from the tyranny of the makers of the world ; and that 
He appeared on earth as man and wrought miracles ; but 
He did not suffer : for Simon of Cyrene being compelled 
to bear the cross, was crucified for Him ; he was trans- 
formed into the likeness of Jesus, and Jesus took the 

BAS. 51 

shape of Simon, and stood by looking on, and laughing at 
the error and ignorance of those who thought they had 
Him in their power ; after which He ascended to heaven. 
They who understand these things are to be delivered 
from the princes of this world. They also hold that men 
ought not to confess him who was crucified, but Him who 
came in the form of man, and was supposed to be cruci- 
fied, and was called Jesus, and was sent of the Father, 
that by this dispensation He might destroy the works of 
the makers of the world. He likewise taught that the 
soul only would be saved, for the body is in its own nature 
corruptible, and incapable of immortality. He moreover 
says that the prophecies are from the princes, makers of 
the world, and that the law was given by the chief of 
them who brought the people out of the land of iEgypt 
They make light of things offered to idols, and partake of 
them without scruple. And all other actions, and all 
kinds of lewdness, are looked upon by them as indifferent. 
They practice magic also, and incantations. They have 
distributed the local positions of the three hundred and 
sixty-five heavens, just as the mathematicians do. For 
they have adopted their theorems, and introduced them 
into their scheme ; the prince of which they call Abraxas, 
that nime having in it the number three hundred and 

It is probable that Basilides did not die before the be- 
ginning of the reign of Antoninus Pius. — Irenaus. Frag- 
ments of his writings occur in Clemens Alexandrinus and 
Epiphanius. Lardner. 

Basire, Isaac de Preaumont, was born at Piouen, in 
Normandy, 1607. In 16*23 he was sent to the college at 
Roterdam, his parents being protestants. Of his early 
years nothing is known; but he came to England, 
and, having been received into the Church, was ordain- 
ed by Morton, bishop of Lichfield, in the year 1629, 
and thenceforward he adopted England as his coun- 
try. We find him in 1631 filling the office of chaplain 

b-> BAS. 

to bishop Morton, at Eccleshall castle ; his letters of 
naturalization are dated the year following. In 1632 
Morton was translated to Durham, and there, as well as 
at Aukland, he had the honour to entertain king Charles 
the martyr ; and there, too, Basire first learned to feel a 
personal regard, in addition to his loyal feelings, for that 
prince. Basire was at this time a hard student, as in 
writing to Vossius he tells him that he is studying the 
Greek fathers, " whose writings he holds as only inferior 
in authority to the holy scriptures." In 1635 he was 
married to Miss Corbet, a lady of good family in Shrop- 
shire. His letters to this lady, and to other persons at 
this period of his life, shew the deep abiding piety of his 
heart. The reader of the correspondence is struck par- 
ticularly with the real comfort which Basire and his 
friends derived from their faith in the efficacy of inter- 
cessory prayer. He was frequently applied to by his 
friends to assist them in their charitable designs, and was 
never appealed to in vain. One letter, from Nathaniel 
Ward, vicar of Staindross, who afterwards died fighting 
for his king and country against the rebels, is interesting, 
as giving a picture of the times. 

" A report has probably reached you of the fire, which 
broke out in my parish last Friday, about three o'clock in 
the morning, and in a very short space of time completely 
destroyed the cottages of three families, and reduced to 
ashes fourteen large stacks of corn. Two of the persons 
who have suffered this heavy loss are papists, plunged in 
the deepest mire of superstition, whom I have often tried 
in vain to recal to more just views of religion : but 
enough remains for them to live comfortably. The third, 
who is much poorer than the others, is an honest pious 
man, who about eight weeks since deserted the camp of 
the papists, and took refuge in our Catholic Church. He 
has two infant sons, and an excellent wife, who, when a 
servant, could never be induced to swerve from the true 
faith by the threats of her masters, and since she was 
married has in like manner resisted the attempts of her 

BAS. 58 

husband to convert her. She expects her confinement 
soon after Christmas ; but her clothes, beds, and bedding, 
all her furniture, and every thing she had prepared for 
her lying-in, have been consumed by the fire ; so that I 
have been obliged to take the man and his family into 
my own house, till God above shall look down in mercy, 
and raise up friends to relieve him in his extreme want 
and misery. The man's name is Francis Laifield. I 
begged a little charity for him yesterday ; and yet, though 
my flock have given proof of the most benevolent feelings, 
I could not collect enough to procure necessaries for this 
poor fellow and his pregnant wife. If therefore you have 
no objection, I wish you would lay their wants next 
Sunday before your congregation, and extort alms from 
them in the name of Christ. For the man is now 
deserted by the papists, because he has come back to us — 
otherwise, they give out that they would have made up 
his losses with interest. I hope, nay I almost feel, that 
God will graciously give this man such favour in the eyes 
of other people, that he will not stand in need of assist- 
ance from the papists, nor ever have reason to regret that 
he has bid adieu to Egypt, and sheltered himself in our 
holy land. If you collect any thing for him, you may 
send it by the steward, or by your servant, to Anthony 
Miller ; and I shall employ some faithful messenger to 
demand your benevolence of him, at the first opportunity 
which offers. I shall feel extremely obliged to you if you 
will comply with my request, and be assured that I shall 
endeavour, as far as in my power, to return your kindness. 
Farewell, and pray for me. Be so good as to write, and 
let me know whether your wife has yet been confined. 
God preserve her from all danger under the shadow of 
His wings." 

In 1636 the degree of BD. was conferred upon him 

by the university of Cambridge, in compliance with the 

king's mandate, and in the course of the same year he 

was presented by the bishop of Durham to the living of 

e 2 

54 BAS. 

Egglescliffe, in that county. In 1640 lie took his degree 
of DD., and in 1641 he was sworn chaplain extraordinary 
to Charles I. and was thus led to an occasional attendance 
at the court at Whitehall, at a time when the king needed 
to he surrounded by loyal subjects ; for the presbyterian 
leaven was spreading destructively through England, and 
the London petition had been presented, calling for a 
total change of religion, and overthrow of the Church, 
signed by 16,000 persons. 

On the 12th of December, 1643, Dr Basire was col- 
lated to the 7th stall in Durham, by his patron bishop 
Morton, and in the August following he was appointed 
archdeacon of Northumberland. These appointments, 
as Mr Darnell observes, however complimentary to Basire, 
were merely nominal, the progress of the civil war 
having placed the duties and the emoluments of such 
offices alike in abeyance. Two years after, he is under- 
stood to have been besieged eleven months in Carlisle. 
Hutchinson states that the city underwent a close 
blockade, and that the inhabitants suffered much for 
want of food. Horses, dogs, and rats, were eaten ; and 
hempseed substituted for bread as long as the siege 

In 1645 Basire was nominated to the living of Stan- 
hope ; and in June, 1646, he was summoned by the earl 
of Dorset to be in waiting upon the king : but the king 
had been bought and sold before Basire could attempt to 
obey ; and -Basire himself having been imprisoned in 
Stockton castle, in 16i7, made his escape and took refuge 
in France. 

A total want of the means of subsistence for himself 
and his family seems to have driven him abroad. Mrs 
Basire was left at Egglescliffe with four children, and 
pregnant with another, to struggle, as well as she could, 
for the allowance promised by the parliament to the wives 
and families of delinquent clergymen. This pittance 
went by the name of fifths, and was supposed to be the 

BAS. 55 

fifth part of their estates and goods seized upon by 
parliament ; and by the help of the " committee of seques- 
tration, - ' and the "committee of plundered ministers," 
appropriated to this purpose. We learn, however, from 
contemporary writers that this was quite an imaginary 
apportionment, " so that as one truly and sadly said the 
fifths were even paid at sixes and sevens," — " which, 
however, is true only in the proverbial, and not in the 
literal sense, (as bad as that would have been) for I shall 
by and by shew, that in those few instances that I find 
them paid, it was for the most part after the rate of tens 
and twelves." " And truly," says another writer, " their 
ordinance for the fifth part, doth generally prove a mere 
mockery to the wives and children of the clergy in the 
midst of their heavy persecution, and a snare to draw 
them into expense of their last groat, in hopes to get their 
so fairly promised morsel ; which, as I have known very 
few obtain it effectually, so have many of them after some 
years of chargeable and vexatious attendance been wearied 
out, buying at too dear a rate their repentance of believing 
or hoping any justice or mercy from the puritan faction." 
x^nthony Wood expressly tells us that " no presbyterian 
or independent was ever known to allow any loyalist, 
whose places they had occupied for several years, the 
least farthing; but rather rejected and avoided them, 
vilified, scorned, and exposed them to the plebeians, as 
empty, formal, and starched nothings." The subterfuges 
employed by the commissioners to evade the payment of 
the fifths committed to their charge, are detailed at length 
by Fuller in his ecclesiastical history. 

It was from Egglescliffe alone that Mrs Basire had 
any chance of obtaining a maintenance. The college of 
Durham had ceased to exist, and an intra der had estab- 
lished himself at Stanhope. 

From this time, separated from his family, and, in the 
quaint language of Walker, " sequestered, pursevanted, 
plundered, and forced to fly," having been thrice shut up 
in the seiges of Carlisle and Oxford, and in a confinement 

56 BAS. 

in Stockton castle, he was a wanderer on the face of the 
earth. Going first to his paternal estate at Rouen, he 
travelled thence with a few pupils, first into Italy, and so 
on into the east. His correspondence, published by the 
Rev Mr Darnell, the present worthy rector of Stanhope, is 
deeply interesting, and the letters from his wife, though 
the orthography is most extraordiuary, are valuable as 
shewing the difficulties with which religious and loyal 
persons had to contend during the rebellion. It would not 
accord with the design of this publication to follow Dr 
Basire in his travels, but the following letter to " sir 
Richard Brown, resident at Paris, for his majesty of Great 
Britain," will make manifest the right feelings which 
attended him wherever he went. 

" Sie, I have according to my duty acquainted you, 
from time to time, with the several passages of my now 
seven years voyage. In my last from Aleppo (as yet 
unanswered) I gave you an account of my stay in Zantes, 
and of my success there, in spreading amongst the Greeks 
the Catholic doctrine of our Church, the sum whereof I 
imparted to sundry of them in a vulgar Greek translation 
of our Church Catechism, the product whereof was so 
notable that it drew envy, and consequently persecution 
upon me from the Latins. This occasioned my volun- 
tary recess into the Morea, where the metropolitan of 
Achaia prevailed with me to preach twice in Greek at 
a meeting of some of his bishops and clergy, and it was 
well taken. At parting I left with him the like copy 
" ut supra." From thence, after I had passed through 
Apulia, Naples, and Sicily again (in which last at 
Messina in Dr Duncom's absence I did for some weeks 
officiate aboard a ship) I embarked for Syria, where, 
after some months stay in Aleppo, where I had fre- 
quent conversation with the patriarch of Antioch, then 
resident there, I left a copy of our catechism translated 
into Arabic, the native language there. From Aleppo, 
I went this last year to Jerusalem, and so travelled 

BA>. 5? 

over all Palestina. At Jerusalem I received much honour, 
both from the Greeks and Latins. The Greek patriarch 
(the better to express his desire of communion with our 
old church of England by me declared unto himj gave 
me this bull or patriarchal seal in a blank (which is 
their way of credence) besides many other respects. As 
for the Latins, they received me most courteously into 
their own convent, though I did openly profess myself 
a priest of the church of England. After some velita- 
tions about the validity of our ordination, they procured 
me entrance into the temple of the sepulchre, at the 
rate of a priest, that is half in half less than the lay- 
men's rate ; and at my departure from Jerusalem the 
pope's ovni vicar (called Commissarius Apostolicus Gene- 
ralis) gave me his diploma in parchment under his own 
hand and public seal, in it stiling me Sacerdotem 
Ecclesiae Angiicanae and S. S. Theologiae Doctorem ; at 
which title many marvelled, especially the French am- 
bassador here. Returning to Aleppo, I passed over 
Euphrates and went into Mesopotamia, (Abraham's 
country) whither I am now intending to send our 
catechism in Turkish to some of their bishops, Arme- 
nians most of them. This Turkish translation is pro- 
cured by the good care of sir Thomas Bendyshe, ambas- 
dour here. After my return from Mesopotamia, I 
wintered at Aleppo, where I may not pass under 
silence sundry courtesies I have received from the civil 
consul, Mr Henry Riley. This last spring I departed 
from Aleppo, and came hither by land (six hundred 
miles all alone, I mean without either servant, or Chris- 
tian, or any man with me that could so much as speak 
the Frank language. Yet by the help of some Arabic 
I had picked up at Aleppo, I did perform this journey in 
the company of twenty Turks, who used me courteously, 
the rather because I was their physician, and of their 
friends by the way (a study whereunto the iniquity of 
the times, and the opportunity of Padua, did drive me) 
so by the good hand of God upon me I arrived safe 

53 BAS 

hither, where I wish the temper of our age would per- 
mit me to express my welcome many ways, into the 
house of the lord ambassador, sir Thomas Bendyshe. 
Since my arrival hither, the French Protestants here 
have taken hold of me ; and after I had declared unto 
them my resolution to officiate according to our liturgy, 
(the translation whereof, for want of a printed copy, cost 
me no little labour,) they have as yet hitherto orderly 
submitted to it, and j)romised to settle me, in three 
salvable men's hands, a competent stipend : and all this 
as they tell me, with the express consent of the French 
ambassador, but still under the roof and protection 
(eatenus) of the English ambassador. How long this 
liberty may last I know not, because they are all of 
them bred after the Geneva discipline, and consequently 
not like to persevere, or to be suffered to go on in our 
way; out of which, God willing, I am resolved not to 
depart, though for it I lose this, as I have lost all. 
Meanwhile, as I have not been unmindful of our church, 
with the true patriarch here, whose usurper now for a 
while doth interpose, so will I not be wanting to em- 
brace all opportunities of propagating the doctrine and 
repute thereof, stylo veteri ; especially if I should about 
it receive any commands or instructions from the king, 
(whom God save) only in ordine ad Ecclesiastica do I 
speak this ; as for instance, proposal of communion 
with the Greek church (salva conscientia et honore) a 
church very considerable in all those parts. And to such 
a communion, together with a convenient reformation of 
some grosser errors, it hath been my constant design to 
dispose and incline them. Haply, some months hence, 
before I leave these parts, I shall pass into Egypt, that 
I may take a survey of the churches of the Cophtics, and 
confer with the patriarch of Alexandria, as I have done 
already with the other three patriarchs, partly to acquire 
the knowledge of those churches, and partly to publish 
ours " quantum fert status." All along as I have gone, 
I have collated the several confessions of faith of the 

BAS 59 

several sorts of Christians, Greeks, Armenians, Jacobites, 
Maronites, &c, which confessions I have with me in their 
own languages. I should now long for a comfortable 
postliminium to my family, but yet I am resolved rather 
intermori in these toilsome ecclesiastical peregrinations, 
than to decline the least on either hand from my religion 
or allegiance. And oh ! that it were with our church as 
whilhome when God Almighty did shine upon our ways, 
and uphold both the staves thereof, " beauty and bands ;" 
but patience, " hoc erat in votis ; " and to recover both 
shall be the prayer and endeavour of, 

" Sir, your &c.'" 
" Pera, near Constantinople, 
20 Julii, 1653."' 

The friendly intercourse of an English priest with the 
churches of the east is always a subject of deep interest ; 
divided as the western church is and is likely to remain. 
While he was at Constantinople, in 1654, he received an 
invitation from George Eacoczi, prince of Transylvania, to 
settle in that country, and he was made by the prince 
divinity professor in his newly founded university of Alba 
Julia, or Weissenburg. There he remained, endeavouring 
to bring about a reformation in religion on the principles 
of the English church, till the restoration of king Charles 
the second. 

He returned to England in 1661 : Evelyn in his diary 
thus alludes to him : 

"10 July, 1661. In the afternoon preached at the 
abbey Dv Basire, that great traveller, or rather French 
apostle, who had been planting the church of England in 
divers parts of the Levant and Asia. He shewed that the 
church of England was for purity of doctrine, substance, 
decency and beauty, the most perfect under heaven ; that 
England was the very land of Goshen. 

" Oct. 29, 1662. I went to court this evening, and had 
much discourse with Dr Basire, one of his majesty's 
chaplains, who shewed me the syngraphs and original 

60 BAS. 

subscriptions of divers Eastern patriarchs and Asian 
churches to our confession." 

He was restored to his preferments, though there was 
some difficulty at first to persuade the intruder at 
Stanhope, " Anthony Lamant, a Scottish man," to resign 
the living to its right owner, and to accept another. The 
joy of Dr Basire at being permitted to return to his 
family was great, and he entered heartily and zealously 
upon his pastoral and other duties. His sense of clerical 
responsibility is expressed in a letter to his son Isaac : 
" Preaching is a good work, catechizing is a better work, 
prayer is best of all." His son Isaac being in London, 
mentions that he had called upon his father's old friend, 
Dr Busby, who in parting blessed him : and the custom 
both of praying for one another, and of asking for the 
sacerdotal blessing, seems not at that time to have de- 
parted from the English church, for in another letter 
Isaac, in writing to his father on some business, states 
that "my lord bishop of Carlisle brought me to the bishop 
of Exeter, who, upon my begging it, laid his hands upon 
me and blessed me." Dr Basire died in 1676: the 
following is an extract from his last will and testament : 

" In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and 
God the Holy Ghost, three persons and one God, blessed 
for ever, Amen, I, Isaac Basire, doctor in divinity and (un- 
worthy) archdeacon of Northumberland, being at present 
in perfect understanding and memory, praised be God, 
but having of late years been summoned by diverse in- 
firmities, and put in mind of my mortality and death, now 
not far of, do make and ordain this my last will and tes- 
tament in manner and form following : that is to say, 
first, I do in all humility resign my soul unto Almighty 
God, the Father of spirits, trusting wholly and only in the 
all-sufficient merit, mediation, and full satisfaction of my 
Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who suffered death upon 
the cross for me and all mankind. And I do declare 
that as I have lived, so I do die, with comfort, in the holy 
communion of the church of England, both for doctrine 

BAS. 61 

and discipline. And I do further protest, that having 
taken a serious survey of most Christian churches, both 
eastern and western, I have not found a parallel of the 
church of England, both for soundness of apostolical doc- 
trine and catholic discipline. Item. I desire my executor 
to dispose of my body for decent and frugal burial in the 
church- j ard ; not out of any singularity, which I always 
declined when I was living, but out of veneration of the 
house of G od, though I am not ignorant of the contrary 
custom : but I do forbid a funeral sermon, although I know 
the antiquity and utility of such sermons in the primitive 
church to encourage the Christians of those times unto 

Then follow many charitable bequests to his several 
parishes, and to the choir of the cathedral church of 

His works are, " Deo et Ecclesiae Sacrum ; Sacrilege 
Arraigned and Condemned by St Paul, Romans ii. 22." 
"Diatriba de antiqua Ecclesiae Britannicse libertate." This 
was found in the lord Hopton's cabinet, after his decease, 
by Richard Watson an exile for his loyalty, who caused it 
to be printed at Bruges, and translated it into English, 
and published it under the title of "the Ancient liberty 
of the Britannic Church." "The history of English and 
Scotch Presbytery;" "Oratio privata boni Theologi (spe- 
ciatim concionatoris practici) partes praecipuas complex 
tens;" "The dead man's real speech; being a sermon 
on Heb. xi. 4, at the funeral of Dr John Cosin, late 
bishop of Durham, 29th of April, 1672 ; together with a 
brief account of the life, actions, and sufferings of the 
said bishop :" from this publication we extract the follow- 
ing passage : 

" And now he is dead, and who knows but that God 
took him away from the evil to come ? And as great as 
he was, you may see now, that a small plat of ground 
must contain and confine him. Sic transit gloria mundi. 
He can carry none of all those dignities to his grave ; only 
vol. n. f 

69 BAS. 

his faith and good works do attend him to his grave, and 
beyond his grave, for his works do follow him, and that a? 
high as heaven, where he now rests from his labours; but 
without faith and good works, when a man is dead, vanity 
of vanities, all is vanity." 

•• This great man was greater by his actions and great 
benefactions, concerning which, when in the prosecution 
of his great building's, he was interpelled by some with 
the mention of his children, his usual answer was, the 
Church is my first born: a noble speech, yea a divine sen- 
tence, worthy of a king, who may envy it out of a bishop's 
mouth. He was greatest of all by his constant sufferings, 
in which sen-e John Baptist is styled, ■ Magnus coram 
Domino;' not so much for his doings, (though they were 
great,) for John * did no miracles/ as for his sufferings; 
in which sense our late bishop was greatest, for he was a 
constant confessor for Christ and his true religion, and is 
but one degree removed from the ' noble army of martyrs,' 
into whose blessed society our hope is, that he is now 
gathered.'' — The Correspondence of Isaac Basire, DD. pub- 
lished by TV. X. Darnell, BD. rector of Stanhope. Wood's 
Fasti. Hutchinson's Best of Durham. Walker. 

Basnage, Benjamin, a French protestant, was born in 
1580. He succeeded his father as minister of the church 
of Carentan. in Normandy, and assisted at the national 
synod of Charenton. He was also deputy from the French 
protestants to James VI. of Scotland. A work by him, 
entitled a treatise on the Church, has been much esteemed. 
He died in 1653. — Moreri. 

Basnage, Anthony, eldest son of the preceding, was 
born in 1610. He became minister of Bayeux, and 
at the age of seventy-five was thrown into prison at 
Havre de Grace. On recovering his liberty, he retired 
into Holland, and died at Zutphen in 1691. His son, 
Samuel Basnage de Flatinanville. succeeded him in his 
congregation at Bayeux, but he was also forced to leave 

BAS. 63 

France in 1685, and retired to Zutphen, where he died in 
IT 21. He wrote Exercitations on Baronius, which he 
published in 1706, under the title of Annales politico- 
ecclesiastici, 3 vols folio. Of this author Dowling re- 
marks : the " Annals of Samuel Basnage, which appear- 
ed in 1706, may be described as a work of learning. But 
the author avowedly wrote with a controversial purpose. 
He was devoted to the doctrines and discipline of the 
reformed communion; and he had not the genius and 
originality which have sometimes enabled writers of 
equally exclusive principles, to exert an influence on the 
whole Christian world." — Moreri. Doirfing. 

Basnage, James, the celebrated ecclesiastical historian, 
was born at Rouen in 1653. He was educated, first at 
Saumur, and next at Geneva, after which he became 
Huguenot minister at Rouen, but on the revocation of the 
edict of Nantes, he retired to Rotterdam. In 1709 he 
was chosen one of the pastors of the Walloon congregation 
at the Hague ; and he was also employed in state affairs. 
The French ambassadors in Holland were directed to 
apply to him for his counsel, and in return for his ser- 
vices, he obtained the restoration of all his property in 
France. He died in 1723. His principal works are — 
1. Histoire de la Religion des Eglises Reformees, of which 
the best edition is that in 2 vols quarto, 1725. 2. Histoire 
de l'Eglise depuis Jesus Christ jusqua present, 2 vols 
folio. 3. Histoire de l'Ancien et du Nouveau Testament, 
folio. 4. Histoire des Juifs, 15 vols 12mo. This has 
been translated into English, in 2 vols folio. Dupin hav- 
ing reprinted this work, and adapted it to the doctrines of 
the church of Rome, the author was induced to publish 
another volume, entitled, L 'Histoire des Juifs reclamee et 
retablie, par son veritable auteur, 12mo. 5. Entretiens 
sur la Religion, 2 vols 12mo. 6. Antiquites Judaiques, 
2 vols 8vo. 7. Annales des Provinces Unies, 2 vols folio. 
8, Dissertation Historiques sur les Duels et les Ordres de 


Chevalerie. Besides these publications, he wrote many 
others on polemical and practical divinity. 

The remarks of Mr Dowling on Samuel Basnage have 
been given above ; Mr Dowling's " Introduction to the 
critical study of Ecclesiastical history" is a work of such 
learning and impartiality that his early death is to be 
deplored as a public loss. His observations on James 
Basnage are now presented to the reader. 

" The controversial warfare which was occasioned by 
the persecuting measures adopted by Louis XIV. towards 
his calvinistic subjects, was carried on with more than 
common bitterness and animosity. The protestant writers 
who took part in it, had most of them suffered from the 
tyranny of the oppressor. They had been the victims of 
grievous injustice ; and they were not more affected by a 
sense of their wrongs, than they were indignant to find 
insult added to injury, in the affected mildness and mode- 
ration of the writings in which some of their most unfeel- 
ing and unrelenting enemies appealed to the world. In- 
fluenced as they were by the feelings natural to their 
peculiar circumstances, they were not in a condition to 
pursue, with success, the study of church-history. Irrita- 
tion and resentment ill prepared them for an employ 
which may well be called sacred. It would have been but 
pious, if, like the hero of the iEneid, they had regarded 
themselves as polluted, in combating even for their 
homes, and scrupled to handle a hallowed thing till they 
were able to think and write with calmness. 

Me, bello e tanto digressum et caede recenti, 
Adtrectare nefas ; donee me flumine vivo 

But their very unfitness operated as a stimulus to their 
activity. They were eager to wrest from their antagonists 
every weapon which could be used against them. They 
were more anxious to obtain a victory, than scrupulous 
about the means by which it might be achieved, or soli- 
citous about the consequences by which it might be fol- 

BAS. 65 

lowed. And, accordingly, we find that in maintaining 
their own views of the subject, and impugning those of 
their opponents, they did not hesitate to assail the most 
venerable facts, nor to call in question the most sacred 

" The most important work which was produced under 
the circumstances to which I allude, was the " Histoire 
de l'Eglise" of the celebrated Jacques Basnage. It was 
professedly written in reply to the " Histoire des Varia- 
tions des Eglises Protestantes" of Bossuet. He met the 
argument of that artful attack on protestantism in a way 
little calculated to serve the cause of Christianity, and 
followed his countryman Jurieu in plying the invidious 
task of exposing the inconsistencies of the ancient Church. 
Anxious at all hazards to gain an advantage over his 
eloquent opponent, he traces the history of the govern- 
ment, the doctrine and worship of the Church, carefully 
pointing out the variations which have prevailed in dif- 
ferent times and countries. His extensive learning and 
great acuteness well fitted him for historical inquiries, 
and I am not aware that there is any reason to suspect his 
personal orthodoxy. But though bearing the character of 
a Christian minister, Basnage was a man of the world, 
and had evidently little feeling for the sacredness of 
church-history. His book is not only essentially a work 
of controversy, but is withal disfigured by the pertness 
and flippancy not unfrequent in French writers, and an 
unfortunate tone of levity and satire. An affectation of 
moderation ill conceals the partizan and the davocate. 
We look in vain for impartiality in one who displays 
alternately the captiousness of the sceptic, and the ob- 
stinacy of the bigot. He had no correct conception of the 
objects of church-history, nor any acquaintance with the 
true genius of historical composition ; yet his keen and 
searching exposures of the prejudices of his opponents, 
and his ingenious vindication of his own, entitle his work 
to attention. It exercised a considerable influence on 

66 BAX. 

future inquirers ; but it was an influence which was not 
salutary. Its effect was rather to retard than accelerate 
the progress of the science. He was rather a man of de- 
tail, than of elevated or comprehensive views; and his 
example rather tended to perpetuate the polemical man- 
ner which others, who made less pretension to liberality, 
had begun tacitly to abandon, than to raise his subject to 
the dignity of genuine history." — Moreri. Dowling. 

Baxter, Richard, was born in 1615, at Rowton, in 
Shropshire. If credit is to be given to the statements 
of Baxter, the reformation had, at this period, effected 
no further good in our Church, than that of correct- 
ing our formularies, and of restoring them to their pri- 
mitive simplicity. By his account the clergy were 
more corrupt after the reformation than they had been 
before : he scarcely knew a clergyman who was not an 
ignoramus and a drunkard ; and as for his tutors, they 
were all guilty of that idleness of which in our own age 
they are accustomed sometimes to accuse their pupils. 
But we must make allowance for considerable exaggera- 
tion in his statements, as they were not made until he 
had become prejudiced against the Church, and his 
prejudices led him unintentionally to recur to the past 
with a jaundiced eye. Besides, we must always bear in 
mind a peculiarity of this distinguished man, who through 
life had a tendency to ^consider all men in the wrong, 
more or less, except himself. Self-will was perhaps his 
besetting sin, and as he formed no sect, so now he has no 
place, but stands solitary among theologians. If what he 
says of the clergy be true, in that statement archbishop 
Laud may find his justification for the zeal with which 
he attempted a reform. 

But we must do him the justice to say, that if he is 
severe on the governors and companions of his youth, he 
does not spare himself, for he confesses that he was 
addicted to lying, theft, levity, and disobedience to his 

BAX. 67 

parents : the Holy Spirit Who had been given to him in 
his baptism, and Whom he thus grieved, did not leave 
him without a warning, for he admits that through his 
conscience he was often reproached for these offences, 
though he knew not then, and did not, even in after life. 
recognize, the sacred Person from whom the warning 
came, and that besides the iniquity of the conduct, he 
committed the further offence of sinning away baptismal 
grace. He was the more without excuse for that he was 
trained by pious parents, who were " free from all disaffec- 
tion to the then government of the Church, and from all 
scruples concerning its doctrine, worship, or discipline ; 
they never spake against bishops, or the prayer book, or 
the ceremonies of the Church ; but they ' prayed to God 
always,' though always by a book or form, generally a 
form at the end of the book of common prayer ; they read 
the Scriptures in their family, especially on the Lords 
day, when others were dancing under a may-pole not far 
from their door, to their great interruption and annoy- 
ance ; they reproved drunkards, swearers, and other evil 
doers ; and they were glad to converse about the Scriptures 
and the world to come ; for all which they escaped not the 
revilings of the ungodly." Of his father, he further says, 
" It pleased God to instruct him, and to change him bv 
the bare reading of the Scriptures in private ; and God 
made him the instrument of my first convictions and 
approbation of a holy life, as well as my restraint from the 
grosser sort of livers. When I was very young, his serious 
speeches of God, and of the life to come, possessed me 
with a fear of sinniug. At first, he set me to read the 
historical parts of Scripture, which greatly delighted me ; 
and though I neither understood nor relished the doc- 
trinal part, yet it did me good by acquainting me with 
the matters of fact, and drawing me on to love the Bible, 
and to search, by degrees, into the rest." It will be 
observed here incidentally, what has been remarked in 
the life of Aylmer, that the prohibition of sports on the 
Lord's day was not introduced by the reformers, but by 

68 BAX. 

the puritans, the Lord's day being a feast, and not a fast ; 
when Baxter went to court, he found that on the Sunday 
evening it was customary to have an interlude, on the 
same principle ; high and low, rich and poor, in England 
as on the Continent, were, at that time, accustomed, after 
the sacred duties of the day had comforted and refreshed 
their souls, to devote some time to the innocent recreation 
of the body. But when we say this, we must also remember 
that our own ancestors and religious persons on the Con- 
tinent, while they thus kept the Lords day, the day of our 
Lord's blessed resurrection, as a happy festival, were accus- 
tomed to observe the Friday, the day of our Lord's cruci- 
fixion, as a strict fast. Later in life Baxter seems to have 
looked back with greater horror at feeling tempted to join in 
the innocent recreations of the people on the Lord's day, no 
law existing at the time to prevent them, than he did at 
the sins of which he had been guilty, of lying, disobedi- 
ence, and theft. Such is the tendency of sectarianism to 
corrupt the judgment. 

His early education was imperfectly conducted. His 
eulogist and biographer, Mr Orme, remarks : " of Hebrew 
he scarcely knew anything ; his acquaintance with Greek 
was not profound ; and even in Latin, as his works shew, 
he must be regarded by a scholar as little less than a 
barbarian. Of mathematics he knew nothing, and never 
had a taste for them. Of logic and metaphysics he was a 
devoted admirer, and to them he dedicated his labour and 
delight." " The schoolmen were the objects of his admira- 
tion ; Aquinas, Scotus, Durandus, Ockham, and their 
disciples, were the teachers from whom he acquired no 
small portion of that acuteness for which he became so 
distinguished as a teacher, and of that logomachy, by 
which most of his writings are more or less deformed." 

It is said that he never experienced any " real change 
of heart," until he read " Bunney's Resolution," a book 
"written by a Jesuit of the name of Parsons," and pub- 
lished, with corrections, by Bunney. 

BAX. 69 

His health from early life was extremely delicate, and 
he was affected with nervous debility ; he is said to have 
been one of the most diseased and afflicted men that ever 
reached the full ordinary limits of human life. And this 
is mentioned by his biographers as an excuse for " the 
acerbity of his temper, his occasional fretfulness and way- 
wardness, and his impatience of contradiction." 

In 1638 he was made head-master of a free school at 
Dudley, and was ordained by the bishop of Worcester. 
He was now rather more than twenty-three years of age, 
and considered himself competent to sit in judgment upon 
the Church. It is interesting to know what the young 
deacon's judgment was, and we find he did not consider 
episcopacy to be sinful, and he decided that kneeling at 
the holy sacrament was lawful: as to the propriety of 
wearing the surplice he doubted ; on the whole he was 
inclined to submit to it, but though he officiated in the 
church of England, he never wore " that rag of popery" 
in his life : the ring in marriage, though a popish custom, 
" he did not scruple ;" but the cross in baptism he deemed 
unlawful. A form of prayer and liturgy he thought might 
be used, and, in some cases, might be lawfully imposed ; 
but as to the liturgy of the church of England, "he 
thought it had much confusion, and many defects in it." 
Discipline he saw much to be wanted, but his youthful 
judgment was, that the frame of episcopacy, (a divine 
institution) did not absolutely exclude it; and thought 
its omission arose chiefly from the personal neglect of 
the bishops. Subscription he began to judge unlawful, 
and thought that he had sinned by his former rashness ; 
for although he did not yet disapprove of a liturgy and 
bishops, yet to subscribe ex animo, that there is nothing 
in the liturgy contrary to the word of God, was what he 
could not do again. The baptismal and ordination 
services, as well as the catechism, are indeed so very 
catholic, that one is surprised how any one holding ultra- 
protestant views, can ever accept them. The very " non- 
natural" sense in which the ordination service is explained 

70 BAX. 

by bishop Sumner, and in which the baptismal offices are 
understood by many, may be accepted by persons anxious 
to remain in the establishment, but would not suffice for 
the strong-minded, self-willed puritans, who sought for a 
good reason to ouit it. 

Baxter now began to study the works of the puri- 
tans, having first read, without receiving satisfaction, the 
writings of distinguished churchmen. Among others, he 
consulted Hooker, but Hooker's argument had no effect 
upon young Baxter. His biographer, Mr Orme, gives 
his own opinion of Hooker, which was probably that of 
Baxter. " Of the man whom popes have praised, and 
kings commended, and bishops without number extolled, 
it may be presumptuous in me," says Mr Orme, " to ex- 
press a qualified opinion. But truth ought to be spoken. 
The praise of profound erudition, laborious research, and 
gigantic powers of eloquence, no man will deny to be due 
to Hooker. But had his celebrated work been written in 
defence of the popish hierarchy, and popish ceremonies, 
the greater part of it would have required little alteration. 
Hence we need not wonder at the praise bestowed on it 
by Clement VIII., or that James II. should have referred 
to it as one of two books which promoted his conversion to 
the church of Rome. His views of the authority of the 
Church, and the insufficiency of Scripture, are much more 
popish than protestant ; and the greatest trial to which 
the judiciousness of Hooker could have been subjected, 
would have been to attempt a defence of the reformation 
on his own principles. His work abounds with sophisms, 
with assumptions, and with a show of proof when the true 
state of the case has not been given, and the strength of 
the argument never met. The quantity of learned and 
ingenious reasoning which it contains, and the seeming 
candour and mildness which it displays, have imposed 
upon many, and procured for Hooker the name of 
"judicious" to which the solidity of his reasonings, and 
the services he has rendered to Christianity, by no means 
entitle him." 

BAX. 71 

Whether Mr Orme or Mr Baxter was competent to sit 
in judgment upon Hooker, may admit of a doubt : they 
were evidently unable to distinguish between Catholic 
truth and Romish corruptions. Baxter had not received 
an academical education, and we have the testimony of 
his biographer given above, to his qualifications to sit in 
judgment on the profound labours of a learned divine. 
But as Baxter had no Hebrew, little Latin, and less 
Greek, with no mathematics, we must be more grieved 
than surprised that Baxter decided that Hooker and the 
Church were wrong, and the puritans right ; especially if 
it be true, as he asserts, that the puritans led the better 
life. He indeed blames them for their " sourness," but 
puritan " sourness" so nearly resembles catholic asceticism 
in appearance, that it is easy to account for the fact 
that they had an influence over the half-educated mind of 
an enthusiastic young man desirous of excellence. 

The dissenters were now in the ascendant, and had 
begun to persecute the clergy. " They had formed," says 
Southey, " a committee for religion, which received, like 
an inquisition, complaints from any person against 
scandalous ministers. To bow at the name of Jesus, 
or require communicants to receive the sacrament at 
the altar, was cause enough for scandal now; and any thing 
which opposed or offended the ruling faction, was compre- 
hended under the general name of malignity, a charge as 
fatal to the fortunes of those against whom it was brought, 
as that of heresy would have been to their lives in a papist 
country." To this committee the town of Kidderminstei 
petitioned against their vicar as a scandalous minister, 
and Baxter represents him to have been a drunkard. If 
it was so, he deserved to be suspended, however incom- 
petent the tribunal to which the appeal was made. But 
it may be stated in his favour, that when he offered to his 
parishioners sixty pounds a year as a salary for any 
preacher a committee of fourteen should choose, and 
promised to confine himself to " the inferior duties" of 
prayer and the routine of pastoral work, the offer was ac- 

72 BAX. 

cepted ; this proves either that they did not substantiate 
their charges against him, or that they, like hypocrites, 
were willing to compound for crime. Baxter was the 
man of their choice, and he accepted the invitation because 
"the congregation was large and the church convenient." 
But he was not without difficulties : at one time " the 
ignorant rabble" raged against him for preaching, as they 
supposed, that God hated all infants, because he taught 
the doctrine of original sin : the very accusation which is 
at the present day brought against those who, because of 
original sin, preach the necessity of infant regeneration. 
At another time they actually sought his life, and probably 
would have taken it, had they found him at the moment 
of their rage, because, by order of the parliament, the 
churchwardens attempted to take down a crucifix which 
the reformers had left standing in the church yard. So 
strong was the excitement against Baxter, that he was not 
long after obliged to withdraw from Kidderminster, on 
account of an attack upon his life by a mob, excited by a 
parliamentary order for defacing images of the Holy 
Trinity in churches, and for removing crucifixes; of which 
they considered Baxter a party, though the execution of 
the order had not been attempted. This shews how 
attached the people were to their religion, and the old 
forms and ceremonies, until by designing and wicked 
persons, aided by such well-meaning but half-informed men 
as Baxter, their passions were inflamed, and they were 
excited to rebellion. What the reformers tolerated, the 
puritans destroyed ; and the dissenters of the present day 
have inherited the spirit, not of the reformers, but of the 

When the rebellion commenced, Baxter acted character- 
istically : he thought the parliamentarians not quite in 
the right, and the king not quite in the wrong ; but while 
persuaded that he only could perceive the truth, he 
became a decided friend to the cause of the rebels, though 
he did not desire the deposition of the king. Having left 
Kidderminster, he resided for a time in the ancient city 

BAX. 73 

of Coventry, and there he took the covenant ; whereby he 
was pledged, " without respect of persons, to endeavour 
the extirpation of popery, prelacy, (that is, church govern- 
ment by archbishops, bishops, their chancellors and com- 
missaries, deans, deans and chapters, archdeacons, and 
all other ecclesiastical officers depending on the hierarchy, ) 
superstition, heresy, schism, profaneness, and whatsoever 
shall be found to be contrary to sound doctrine and the 
power of godliness." " All persons," says Southey, " above 
the age of eighteen, were required to take the covenant ; 
and such ministers as refused were reported to parliament 
as malignants, and proceeded against accordingly. No 
fewer than seven thousand clergymen were on this ground 
ejected from their livings, so faithful were the great body 
of the clergy in the worst of times. The extent of private 
misery and ruin which this occasioned, aggravated in no 
slight degree the calamities of civil war." Among these 
seven thousand confessors Baxter was not : by taking the 
coveuant he escaped persecution, but committed himself 
as a presbyterian and a rebel. 

During the progress of the rebellion he discovered that 
many of the rebels went further than he did, and desired 
" to master and ruin the king ;" and that there were many 
preachers in the rebel army who preached not according 
to what he thought orthodoxy. He became therefore a 
chaplain in the rebel army : and it is strange to hear him 
speaking with contempt of sectaries, as if he had not become 
one himself, and with indignation of heterodoxy, as if, 
holding, as he did, the right of private judgment, he could 
justly, or without a most unchristian violation of charity, 
call any one heterodox, merely because the opinions which 
he deduced from Scripture happened to differ from those 
of Baxter. His position in the army was any thing but 
pleasant ; he was an unwelcome guest, and seemed more 
surprised than hurt that Cromwell did not admit him into 
his councils. His biographer tells us that " nothing but 
an extraordinary taste for disputation could have disposed 

VOL. II. g 

74 BAX. 

him to enter on, or have enabled him to continue in, such 
a service." But we cannot help thinking that he was 
actuated by a yet higher motive : as he had selected the 
presbyterian religion to be his own, he thought it the 
true religion, and if the true religion, the only religion ; 
and when he saw the progress of events in the rebellion 
leading on to the establishment of independency, he be- 
came alarmed, and in serving his sect, conscientiously 
believed that he was serving God. He gives a lamentable 
description of the immorality and infidelity even, which 
prevailed in the puritan army, and speaks of the leading 
ministers as " fierce with pride and self-conceitedness." 

While Baxter lived in Coventry the Westminster assem- 
bly had been convened by order of parliament; it was 
convoked, says Southey " to frame a new model of church 
government. A few of the loyal clergy were appointed, 
most of whom, in obedience to the king's command, re- 
fused to appear upon an illegal summons : a large propor- 
tion of seditious preachers, who now openly professed 
their presbyterian principles ; some honester men though 
further gone in the disease of the age, who, having emi- 
grated to Holland, rather than submit to the order of the 
Church, returned now to take advantage of its overthrow, 
and lastly certain members of both houses, and some com- 
missioners from Scotland." It is somewhat remarkable 
that Baxter was not a member of this notable assembly, 
and when speaking of it, a feeling of disappointment 
escapes from him in the expression that he was "not 
worthy to be one of them himself." Although he 
approved of the assembly in general, and thought it the 
most admirable assembly that had existed since the 
days of the apostles, except the Synod of Dort ; he criti- 
cises it with his usual self-sufficiency : his words are, 
" Yet, highly as I honour the men, I am not of their 
mind in every part of the government which they would 
have set up. Some words in their catechism, I wish had 
been more clear : and, above all, I wish that the parlia- 

BAX. 75 

ment, and their more skilful hand, had done more than 
was done to heal our breaches, aDd had hit upon the right 
way, either to unite with the episcopalians and indepen- 
dents, or, at least, had pitched on the terms that are fit for 
universal concord, and left all to come in upon those terms 
that would." 

In 1647 Baxter was obliged to leave the rebel army by 
a sudden illness, and he retired to sir Thomas Rous's, 
where he remained some time in a bad state of health. 
In the meantime the refractory parishioners of Kidder- 
minster had renewed their articles against the vicar, and 
the deposing committee had sequestered the place. The 
vicarage was now offered to Baxter. Not being iuclined to 
involve himself in the difficulties of an office which be- 
longed of right to another, he insisted that the sequestra- 
tion should remain in the hands of the townsmen, and 
that they should make an allowance to him out of the 
tithes and other proceeds of the living : he would not steal 
the horse, but was willing to ride it when others had acted 
the part of thief. The time of Baxter's residence at Kid- 
derminster was the happiest and most useful period of 
his life. His ideas with respect to the management of a 
parish were excellent ; he gave his time and his thoughts 
to his people ; he was diligent, generous, and humane ; 
and, according to his own account, he was so wonderfully 
successful that " on the Lord's day there was no disorder 
to be seen in the streets ; but you might hear an hundred 
families singing psalms and repeating sermons as you 
passed through them. " In a word,** he says, "when I came 
thither first, .there was about one family in a street which 
worshipped God and called upon His Name, and when I 
came away there were some streets where there was not 
one poor family on the side that did not so." This boast 
could not have been without foundation ; but Baxter was 
an egotist, and had such an overweening opinion of him- 
self, that what he says must be received with considerable 

It is certain, however, that his opinions now had under- 

76 BAX. 

gone a very considerable change in things relating to the 
state. Like the other presbyterians, and like ultra-protes- 
tants in general, he did not regard rebellion as in itself 
sinful. He and the presbyterians were willing to take up 
arms against the king in order to compel him to establish 
the presbyterian religion, but when they found the rebels 
had ulterior objects in view, and that toleration of all 
sects and parties, and not the establishment of presbyteri- 
anism was likely to be the end of their proceedings, the 
presbyterian party became loyalists, and though they did 
not, and indeed could not, prevent the murder of the king, 
they censured that act of atrocity, and while submitting 
to Cromwell, were prepared to assist in the restoration of 
Charles II. 

Although Baxter had taken the covenant at Coventry, 
when he supposed the object of the rebellion was to estab- 
lish presbyterianism, he now opposed both that and the 
engagement : to the latter he was as a matter of course 
opposed ; the imposition of the former he thought inexpe- 
dient, as it might hamper men in coming to terms should 
an opportunity of restoring the king occur. In all these 
proceedings we must remark that Baxter was suffering 
under severe disappointment, Cromwell and his officers 
having treated him when with the army with as much con- 
tempt as they dared. We find him again connected with 
the army, but giving the soldiers and general now very 
sound advice. In narrating the course he adopted to- 
wards them he shews up the hypocrisy of the puritan 
rebels, and certainly no*one knew them better than he did : 

"When the soldiers were going against the- king and the 
Scots, I wrote letters to some of them, to tell them of their 
sin ; and desired them at last to begin to know them- 
selves. They were the same men who had boasted so much 
of love to all the godly, and pleaded for tender dealing 
with them, and condemned those that persecuted them or 
restrained their liberty, who were now ready to imbrue 
their swords in the blood of such as they acknowledged to 
be godly ; and all because they dared not be as perjured 

BAX. 7i 

or disloyal as they were. Some of them were startled at 
these letters, and thought me an uncharitable censurer, 
who would say that they could kill the godly, even when 
they were on the march to do it : for how bad soever they 
spake of the cavaliers (and not without too much desert as 
to their morals), they confessed, that abundance of the 
Scots were godly men. Afterwards, however, those that I 
wrote to better understood me. 

" At the same time, the Rump, or Commonwealth, 
which so much abhorred persecution, and were for liberty 
of conscience, made an order that all ministers should 
keep certain days of humiliation, to fast and pray for their 
success in Scotland : and that we should keep days of 
thanksgiving for their victories ; and this upon pain of 
sequestration ! So that we all expected to be turned out ; 
but they did not execute it upon any, save one, in our 
parts. For myself, instead of praying and preaching for 
them, when any of the committee or soldiers were my 
hearers, I laboured to help them to understand, what a 
crime it was to force men to pray for the success of those 
who were violating their covenant and loyalty, and going, 
in such a cause, to "kill their brethren : — what it was to 
force men to give God thanks for all their bloodshed, and 
to make Gods ministers and ordinances vile, and service- 
able to such crimes, by forcing men to run to God on such 
errands of blood and ruin : — and what it is to be such 
hypocrites as to persecute and cast out those that preach 
the gospel, while they pretend the advancement of the 
gospel, and the liberty of tender consciences, and leave 
neither tenderness nor honesty in the world, when the 
guides of the flocks and preachers of the gospel shall be 
forced to swallow down such heinous sins." 

At the restoration Baxter was regarded as one of the 
leaders of the puritans, with whom the loyalists might 
communicate ; but the inconsistency of his principles is 
well expressed by his eulogist Mr Orme, who can scarcely 
forgive him for his loyalty, such as it was : "he acted with 
g 2 

78 BAX. 

the parliament, but maintained the rights of the king ; 
he enjoyed the benefits of the protectorate, but spoke and 
reasoned against the protector; he hailed the return of 
Charles, but doubted whether he was freed from allegiance 
to Richard." The benefits of the protectorate are to be 
sought in confiscations to the amount of £83,331,489, 
and in the entire loss of liberty on the part of the people. 
But such as they were Baxter certainly had his share in 
them, as he enjoyed at Kidderminster property which 
belonged to another. 

Such was Baxter's state of mind and circumstances on 
the king's return. " The national feeling," says Southey, 
" had already been manifested. At the moment that the 
cannon announced the king's peaceful return to the palace 
of his fathers, some of the sequestered bishops and other 
clergy performed a service of thanksgiving in Henry the 
Seventh's chapel, with feelings such as no other source of 
joy could ever have excited In most parts of the country, 
where the minister was well disposed, a repeal of the laws 
against the liturgy was not waited for, so certain was it 
held, by every sound old English heart, that the constitu- 
tion of their fathers in church as well' as in state was now 
to be restored. The presbyterians felt this : but when 
they saw how impossible it was to obtain a real triumph, 
they sought for such a compromise as might be made to 
have the resemblance of one. Their hope now was, that 
the Church would give up some of its ceremonies and 
alter its liturgy to their liking. But in aiming at this, 
their leaders proceeded with a bad faith, which, when it 
was detected, abated both the hope and the wish of 
conciliating them." Baxter's own account of the transac- 
tions of this period fully bears out the accuracy of this 
statement, which is further corroborated by the following 
passage from lord Clarendon : 

" Here," says Clarendon, " I cannot but instance two 
acts of the presbyterians, by which, if their humour 
and spirit were not enough discovered and known, their 

BAX. 79 

want of ingenuity and integrity would be manifest ; and 
how impossible it is for men who would not be deceived, 
to depend on either. When the declaration had been 
delivered to the ministers, there was a clause in it, in 
which the king declared ' his own constant practice of the 
common prayer,' and that he would take it well from 
those who used it in their churches, that the common 
people might be again acquainted with the piety, gravity, 
and devotion of it, and which he thought would facilitate 
their living in good neighbourhood together, or words to 
that effect When they had considered the whole some 
days, Mr Calamy, and some other ministers deputed by 
the rest, came to the chancellor to re-deliver it into his 
hands. They acknowledged the king had been very 
gracious to them in his concessions; though he had not 
granted all that some of their brethren wished, yet they 
were contented, only desiring him that he would prevail 
with the king, that the clause mentioned before might be 
left out, which, they protested, was moved by them for the 
king's own end, and that they might show their obedience 
to him, and resolution to do him service. For they were 
resolved themselves to do what the king wished ; first to 
reconcile the people, who for near twenty years had not 
been acquainted with that form, by informing them that 
it contained much piety and devotion, and might be law- 
fully used ; and then that they would begin to use it 
themselves, and by degrees accustom the people to it, 
which they said would have a better effect than if the 
clause were in the declaration. For they should be 
thought in their persuasions to comply only with the 
king's declaration, and to merit from his majesty, and not 
to be moved from the conscience of their duty, and so 
they should take that occasion to manifest their zeal to 
please the king. And they feared there would be other 
ill consequences from it by the waywardness of the com- 
mon people, who were to be treated with skill, and would 
not be prevailed upon all at once. The king was to be 
present the next morning, to hear the declaration read the 

80 BAX, 

last time before both parties, and then the chancellor told 
him, in the presence of all the rest, what the ministers 
had desired, which they again enlarged upon, with the 
same protestations of their resolutions, in such a manner 
that his majesty believed they meant honestly, and the 
clause was left out. But the declaration was no sooner 
published, than, observing that the people were generally 
satisfied with it, they sent their emissaries abroad, and 
many of their letters were intercepted, and particularly a 
letter from Mr Calamy, to a leading minister in Somerset- 
shire, whereby he advised and intreated him that he and 
his friends would continue and persist in the use of the 
Directory, and by no means admit the common prayer in 
their churches ; for thus he made no question but that 
they should prevail further with the king than he had 
yet consented to in his declaration ! 

" The other instance was, that as soon as the declara- 
tion was printed, the king received a petition in the name 
of the ministers of London, and many others of the same 
opinion with them, who had subscribed that petition, 
amongst whom none of those who had attended the king 
in those conferences had their names. They gave his 
majesty humble thanks for the grace he had vouchsafed 
to show in his declaration, which they received as an 
earnest of his future goodness and condescension, in 
granting all those other concessions, which were abso- 
lutely necessary for the liberty of their conscience, and 
desired, with importunity and ill manners, that the wear- 
ing the surplice, and the using the cross in baptism, 
might be absolutely abolished out of the Church, as being 
scandalous to all men of tender consciences ! From these 
two instances, all men may conclude that nothing but a 
severe execution of the law can prevail upon that class of 
men to conform to government." 

Conciliation was, however, still tried, and after the 
vacant sees had been filled up, and the act repealed which 
excluded the bishops from parliament, what is commonly 
called the Savoy Conference was held on the 15th of April, 

BAX. 81 

1661, under a warrant issued by the king on the 25th of 
March, The commission thus appointed consisted of an 
equal number of divines of the church of England and of 
presbyterians, the object being to ascertain from the latter 
what concessions they required, and from the former whe- 
ther the Church was capable of conceding any points to 
presbyterian scruples without violation of principle. It is 
well known that this conference failed in the object for 
which it was intended, and ended in a reformation of our 
liturgy and offices of a catholic, not of a presbyterian cha- 
racter. Our divines at once perceived that their end was to 
be the establishment of God's truth, not the conciliation 
of a few persons who, however excellent, were not to be 
heard when pleading against the catholic Church. By the 
firmness of our divines at that period, the church was 
placed in that position in which it now remains. 

Baxter took a leading part in the Savoy Conference, 
and was distinguished rather by the violence of his con- 
duct than by extreme principles : the bitterness of his 
spirit as regards this conference is painfully apparent in 
the account he gives of it in his life. His self-confidence 
was remarkably conspicuous in the fact, that, not content 
with objecting to the catholic liturgy of the Church as 
reformed in the reigns of Edward, Elizabeth, and James, 
he set himself the task of writing an entirely new liturgy, 
which he completed in a fortnight. He ventured to do 
what the reformers had not attempted, and set up his own 
intellect as equal to the wisdom of the whole Church. 
Isaac Walton, in his life of bishop Sanderson, makes the 
following remarks upon the celebrated conference here 
alluded to : 

" The points debated were, I think, many; (and I think 
many of them needless) some affirmed to be truth and 
reason, some denied to be either ; and these debates being 
at first in words, proved to be so loose and perplexed, as 
satisfied neither party. For some time that which had 
been affirmed was immediately forgot, or mistaken, or 
denied, and so no satisfaction given to either party. And 

82 BAX. 

that the debate might become more satisfactory and useful, 
it was therefore resolved that the day following the desires 
and reasons of the non-conformists should be given in 
writing, and they in writing receive answers from the 
conforming party. And though I neither now can, nor 
need to mention all the points debated, nor the names of 
the dissenting brethren ; yet I am sure Mr Richard Bax- 
ter was one, and I am sure also one of the points debated 
was ' Concerning a command of lawful superiors, what 
was sufficient towards its being a lawful command?' — 
This following proposition was brought by the conforming 
party : 

• That command which commands an act in itself law- 
ful, and no other act or circumstance unlawful, is not 

"Mr Baxter denied it for two reasons, which he gave in 
with his own hand in writing thus : one was, ' Because 
that may be a sin per accidens, which is not so in itself ; 
and may be unlawfully commanded, though that accident 
be not in the command.' Another was, ' That it may be 
commanded under an unjust penalty.' 

"Again, this proposition being brought by the conform- 
ists, ' That command which commandeth an act in itself 
lawful, and no other act whereby any unjust penalty is 
enjoined, nor any circumstance whence per accidens any 
sin is consequent which the commander ought to provide 
against, is not sinful.' 

"Mr Baxter denied it for this reason then given in with 
his own hand in writing, thus ; ' Because the first act 
commanded may be per accidens unlawful, and be com- 
manded by an unjust penalty, though no other act or 
circumstance commanded be such.' 

"Again, this proposition being brought by the conform- 
ists, ' That command which commandeth an act in itself 
lawful, and no other act whereby any unjust penalty is en- 
joined, nor any circumstance whence directly or per accidens 
any sin is consequent, which the commander ought to pro- 
vide against, hath in it all things requisite to the lawful- 

BAX. 83 

ness of a command, and particularly cannot be guilty of 
commanding an act per accidens unlawful, nor of command- 
ing an act under an unjust penalty.' 

" Mr Baxter denied it upon the same reasons. 

Peter Gunning. 
John Pearson. 

"These were then two of the disputants, still live, and 
will attest this ; one being now lord bishop of Ely, and 
the other of Chester. And the last of them told me very 
lately, that one of the dissenters (which I could, but for- 
bear to name) appeared to Dr Sanderson to be so bold, so 
troublesome, and so illogical in the dispute, as forced 
patient Dr Sanderson (who was then bishop of Lincoln, 
and a moderator with other bishops) to say with an un- 
usual earnestness, ■ That he had never met with a man 
of more pertinacious confidence, and less abilities in all 
his conversation.' " 

In the meantime Baxter had been kindly treated : he 
had been one of the chaplains appointed by the king on 
his restoration, and had been offered a bishopric. But there 
was so much generosity in Baxter's disposition, and such 
honest devotion to the cause which, however mistaken, he 
considered to be the cause of truth, that he was not to be 
bribed; and the offer of a bishopric was disgraceful in 
those who made it, while its rejection was honourable to 
Baxter. When his vanity was offended he could become 
a bitter enemy ; but as to station he desired only that, in 
which he knew that he could be useful, and the object of 
his ambition was a restoration to Kidderminster, if the 
vicar of that parish could be induced to leave it by the 
offer of other preferment. This could never be effected, 
though Baxter endeavoured to create in the parish a fac- 
tion in his own favour, which caused the vicar some trouble. 
Being thus disappointed he preached occasionally in the 
city of London, having a license from Sheldon, bishop of 
London, upon his subscribing a promise not to preach any 
thing contrary to the doctrine or the discipline of the 
Church. He preached his farewell sermon at Blackfriars 

84 BAX. 

in May, 1662, and then retired to Acton, in Middlesex, 
which was his chief place of residence as long as the act 
against conventicles was in force. 

All hopes of obtaining a station, for we can hardly say 
that he desired preferment, in the church of England 
were, of course, renounced by Baxter when the act of 
Uniformity passed in 1662. This act required the clergy 
of the church of England to conform to the liturgy of the 
church of England, and enacted that preachers unor- 
dained should receive ordination. " The measure," says 
Mr Sou they, " was complained of, as an act of enormous 
cruelty and persecution ; and the circumstance of its 
being fixed for St Bartholomews day gave the com- 
plainants occasion to compare it with the atrocious deed 
committed upon that day against the Huguenots of 
France. They were careful not to remember that the 
same day, and for the same reason, (because tithes were 
commonly due at Michaelmas) had been appointed for the 
former ejection, by the rebels and dissenters, when four 
times as many of the loyal clergy were deprived for fidelity 
to their sovereign. No small proportion of the present 
sufferers had obtained preferment by means of that tyran- 
nical deprivation : they did but drink now of the cup which 
they had administered to others." Owing to the act of 
uniformity it is said by presbyterians that two thousand 
ministers were deprived ; but, says sir Roger L 'Estrange, 
" as to your account of two thousand silenced ministers, 
a matter of eight or nine hundred difference shall break 
no squares between you and me." 

Common sense must admit that if the Church was to be 
restored in England, none could be admitted to minister 
at her altars but those whom the catholic Church considers 
to be canonically ordained, and who would conform to her 
doctrine and discipline. In these days the very persons 
who are wont to censure the conduct of the restora 
tion government for thus ejecting men who, at heart, 
were presbyterians, are vehement advocates of the prin- 
ciple on which they acted, and endeavour by its appli 

BAX. 85 

cation to drive from the Church all who are supposed 
to entertain feelings friendly to Romanism. The conduct 
of all parties in the Church at the present time thus vin- 
dicates the much censured conduct of the good and wise 
men who restored and reformed the church of England 
after the restoration. But if such is the case, the change 
in public opinion which has subsequently taken place, 
will induce another class of persons to regret that a tolera- 
tion was not fully established. It was proper that those 
only should be permitted to minister in the church of 
England who conformed to her formularies, but we must 
regret that the presbyterians and others were not permitted 
that full toleration which they now enjoy. The truth, 
however, is that the government desired a toleration, and 
that they were opposed, and strongly opposed by the pres- 
byterians and puritans. They wished to be tolerated, 
and even demanded to be patronized themselves, but 
with the intolerance and the self-deception for which that 
party have always been distinguished, they would rather 
suffer themselves, than share with others a benefit they 
desired. The feeling of the puritans may be perceived 
from the following statements of Baxter : on one occasion, 
when the puritans were pleading their cause with the 
chancellor, lord Clarendon, he " drew out another paper, 
and told us that the king had been petitioned also by the 
independents and anabaptists ; and though he knew not 
what to think of it himself, and did not very well like it, 
yet something he had drawn up which he would read to 
us, and desire us also to give our advice about it. There- 
upon he read, as an addition to the declaration, ' that 
others also be permitted to meet for religious worship, so 
be it, they do it not to the disturbance of the peace ; and 
that no justice of peace or officer disturb them.' When 
he had read it, he again desired them all to think on it, 
and give their advice ; but all were silent. The presbyte- 
rians all perceived, as soon as they heard it, that it would 
secure the liberty of the papists ; and Dr Wallis whis- 

VOL. II. h 

86 BAX. 

pered me in the ear, and entreated me to say nothing, for 
it was an odious business, but to let the bishops speak to 
it. But the bishops would not speak a word, nor any one 
of the presbyterians, and so we were like to have ended in 
silence. I knew, if we consented to it, it would be 
charged on us, that we spake for a toleration of papists 
and sectaries : yet it might have lengthened out our own. 
And if we spake against it, all sects and parties would be 
set against us as the causers of their sufferings, and as a 
partial people that would have liberty ourselves, but would 
have no others enjoy it with us. At last, seeing the 
silence continue, I thought our very silence would be 
charged on us as consent, if it went on, and therefore I 
only said this : ' That this reverend brother, Dr Gunning, 
even now speaking against the sects, had named the 
papists and the socinians : for our parts, we desired not 
favour to ourselves alone, and rigorous severity we desired 
against none. As we humbly thanked his majesty for his 
indulgence to ourselves, so we distinguished the tolerable 
parties from the intolerable. For the former, we humbly 
craved just lenity and favour, but for the latter, such as the 
two sorts named before by that reverend brother, for our 
parts, we could not make their toleration our request.' 
To which his majesty said, there were laws enough against 
the papists ; to which I replied, that we understood the 
question to be, whether those laws should be executed on 
them or not. And so his majesty broke up the meeting 
of that day." 

On another occasion it seems that a toleration had been 
almost obtained, the circumstances of its failure are thus 
given by Baxter : 

" Having got past Bartholomew's day, I proceed in the 
history of the consequent calamities. When I was absent, 
resolving to meddle in such businesses no more, Mr Calamy 
and the other ministers of London who had acquaintances 
at court, were put in hope the king would grant that by 
way of indulgence, which was formerly denied them ; and 


that before the act was passed, it might be provided that 
the king should have power to dispense with such as 
deserved well of him in his restoration, or whom he 
pleased : but all was frustrated. After this, they were 
told that the king had power himself to dispense in such 
cases, as he did with the Dutch and French churches, and 
some kind of petition they drew up to offer the king ; but 
when they had done it, they were so far from procuring 
their desires, that there fled abroad grievous threatenings 
against them, that they should incur a premunire for such 
a bold attempt. When they were drawn to it at first, 
they did it with much hesitancy, and they worded it so 
cautiously, that it extended not to the papists. Some of 
the independents presumed to say, that the reason why 
all our addresses for liberty had not succeeded, was be- 
cause we did not extend it to the papists ; that for their 
parts, they saw no reason why the papists should not have 
liberty of worship as well as others ; and that it was better 
for them to have it, than for all of us to go without it. 
But the presbyterians still answered, that the king might 
himself do what he pleased ; and if his wisdom thought 
meet to give liberty to the papists, let the papists petition 
for it as we did for ours ; but if it were expected that we 
should be forced to become petitioners for liberty to 
popery, we should never do it whatever be the issue ; nor 
should it be said to be our work. 

" On the '26th. December, 1662, the king sent forth a 
declaration, expressing his purpose to grant some indul- 
gence or liberty in religion, with other matters, not 
excluding the papists, many of whom had deserved so 
well of him. When this came out, the ejected ministers 
began to think more confidently of some indulgence to 
themselves. Mr Nye, also, and some other of the inde- 
pendents, were encouraged to go to the king, and, when 
they came back, told us, that he was now resolved to give 
them liberty. On the second of January, Mr Nye came 
to me, to treat about our owning the king's declaration, by 
returning him thanks for it ; when I perceived that it was 

88 BAX. 

designed that we must be the desirers or procurers of it ; 
but I told him my resolution to meddle no more in such 
matters, having incurred already so much hatred and 
displeasure by endeavouring unity. The rest of the 
ministers also had enough of it, and resolved that they 
would not meddle; so that Mr Nye and his brethren 
thought it partly owing to us that they missed their 
intended liberty. But all were averse to have any thing 
to do with the indulgence or toleration of the papists, 
thinking it at least unfit for them." 

There is something particularly naive in the one-sided 
view of liberality taken by Baxter in the following passage, 
which relates to a plan of toleration suggested by the 
government in 1668. "But after all this," says Baxter, 
" we were as before. The talk of liberty did but occasion 
the writing many bitter pamphlets against toleration. 
Among others, they gathered out of mine and other men's 
books all that we had there said against liberty for popery, 
and for quakers railing against the ministers in open 
congregations, which they applied as against a toleration 
of ourselves ; for the bare name of toleration did seem in 
the people's ears to serve their turn by signifying the same 
thing. Because we had said that men should not be 
tolerated to preach against Jesus Christ and the scriptures, 
they would thence justify themselves for not tolerating us 
to preach for Jesus Christ, unless we would be deliberate 
liars, and use all their inventions. Those same men, 
who, when commissioned with us to make such alterations 
in the liturgy as were necessary to satisfy tender con- 
sciences, did maintain that no alteration was necessary to 
satisfy them, and did moreover, contrary to all our impor- 
tunity, make so many new burdens of their own to be 
anew imposed on us, had now little to say but that they 
must be obeyed, because they were imposed." Baxter 
and his friends, being right, ought to be tolerated, all 
other parties, being wrong, ought not to be tolerated ; but 
why Baxter and his friends were more likely to be right 
than independents and papists does not appear. 

BAX. 89 

In 1672 was issued the king's declaration dispensing 
with the penal laws against nonconformists. " When it 
came out," says Baxter, "the London nonconformable 
ministers were invited to return his majesty their thanks. 
At their meeting, Dr Seaman and Mr Jenkins, who had 
been till then most distant from the court, were for a 
thanksgiving, in such high applauding terms as L»r 
Manton, and almost all the rest, dissented from. Some 
were for avoiding terms of approbation, lest the parliament 
should fall upon them ; and some, because they would 
far rather have had any tolerable state of unity with the 
public ministry than a toleration; supposing, that the 
toleration was not chiefly for their sakes, but for the 
papists, and that they should hold it no longer than 
that interest required it, which is inconsistent with the 
interest of the protestant religion, and the church of Eng- 
land : and that they had no security for it, but it might 
be taken from them at any time." At this time a] so, the 
government ordered fifty pounds a year to be paid to most 
of the nonconformist ministers in London, and a hundred 
to the chief of them. Baxter, with his usual independence, 
sent back his pension, which is represented by Burnet in 
the light of hush money. 

Since these were the principles by which Baxter was 
influenced, we feel less inclined to sympathize with him 
in the occasional hardships to which he was exj^osed dur- 
ing the reigns of Charles and his brother. He was deter- 
mined to preach, and when he preached he was maliciously 
watched and malignantly misrepresented, not by the 
authorities of the Church, but by the partizans of govern- 
ment. To the authorities of church and state he was 
often accused, though always unjustly, of sedition. He was 
often incautious, and as he was suspected, the misrepre- 
sentations of his conduct were easily believed. When he 
was in prison, he was merely subjected to restraint, until 
the circumstances of his case were enquired into. ( >n 

casion, when he was committed bv the magistrate 

h a 

90 BAX. 

under suspicion of being engaged in a seditious movement 
with which he was evidently in no way concerned, he 
says : " My imprisonment was at present no great suffer- 
ing to me, for I had an honest jailor, who showed me all 
the kindness he could. I had a large room, and the 
liberty of walking in a fair garden. My wife was never 
so cheerful a companion to me as in prison, and was very 
much against my seeking to be released. She had brought 
so many necessaries, that we kept house as contentedly 
and comfortably as at home, though in a narrower room, 
and had the sight of more of my friends in a day, than I 
had at home in half a year. I knew also that if I got out 
against their will, my sufferings would be never the 
nearer to an end. But yet, on the other side, it was in 
the extreme heat of summer, when London was wont to 
have epidemical diseases. The hope of my dying in 
prison, I have reason to think was one great inducement 
to some of the instruments to move to what they did. My 
chamber being over the gate, which was knocked and 
opened with noise of prisoners just under me, almost 
every night, I had little hope of sleeping but by day, 
which would have been likely to have quickly broken my 
strength, which was so little that I did but live. The 
number of visitors daily, put me out of hope of studying, 
or of doing any thing but entertain them. I had neither 
leave at any time to go out of doors, much less to church 
on the Lord's days, nor on that day to have any come to 
to me, or to preach to any but my family." His friends 
were justly indignant at the treatment he received, and 
he says, "the moderate, honest part of the episcopal 
clergy were much offended, and I was chosen out design- 
edly to make them all odious to the people." The 
circumstance took place when at the profligate court of 
Charles the church of England was out of favour, and to 
spite the Church the government was inclined to treat 
with the nonconformists. 

In 1662 Baxter had married Margaret, daughter of 

BAX. 91 

Francis Charleton, Esq., of Shropshire ; and his marriage 
created some laughter and surprise, not only because at 
forty- seven years of age he allied himself to a young lady 
of twenty-two, but because he had been accustomed to talk 
rather incautiously in favour of the celibacy (not com- 
pulsory) of the clergy. When stating the causes of his 
success at Kidderminster, he says, " I found also that my 
single life afforded me much advantage ; for I could 
easier take my people for my children, and think all that 
I had too little for them, in that I had no children of my 
own to tempt me to another way of using it. Being 
discharged from family cares, and keeping but one servant, 
I had the greater vacancy and liberty for the labours of 
my calling." Some time before his marriage took place, 
he remarks, in his usual egotistic strain, which renders 
every thing of public importance in his own estimation 
which relates to himself, " it was rung about every where 
partly as a wonder, and partly as a crime ; and that the 
king's marriage was scarcely more talked about." For 
this, remarks Mr Orme, " he had no doubt furnished 
some occasion, by the manner in which he had expressed 
himself respecting ministers marrying, which he con- 
sidered barely lawful." 

Besides the controversies to which allusion has already 
been made, Baxter had a long discussion, in person and by 
writing, with Dr Owen, about the terms of agreement with 
Christians of all parties. It was not productive of any 
practical effect at the time, and Baxter, of course, lays the 
blame of its failure upon Owen. Baxter's biographer re- 
marks that in this controversy Baxter was sharp and 
cutting in his reproofs, and disposed to push matters too 
far. He tells us that Owen frequently made friends of 
enemies* while Baxter often made enemies of friends. 

After the indulgence in 1672 Baxter returned to Lon- 
don, and preached on week-days at Pinner's Hall, at a 
meeting in Fetter-lane, and in St James's market house ; 
about two years afterwards, he built a meeting-house in 

92 BAX. 

Oxenden-street. Both there, and in a meeting-house in 
Swallow ^ tree t, he was subjected to much annoyance. 

In 1682 Charles II being exasperated at the resistance 
offered by the presbyterians to any toleration which should 
include the papists, resolved to humble the former : and 
in common with several others, Baxter was seized for 
coming within five miles of a corporate town, contrary to 
an act of parliament ; and in 1684 he was seized again. 
In the reign of James II he was committed a prisoner to 
the King's Bench, and tried before the infamous Jeffries 
for his paraphrase on the New Testament, which, because 
it contained certain allusions to passing events, and many 
unjustifiable and unfair insinuations against prelates and 
prelatists, was stigmatized as a scandalous and seditious 
hook against the government. The conduct of Jeffries 
throughout this affair was atrocious. Baxter was com- 
mitted to prison from which after two years he was dis- 
charged, the fine which had been imposed upon him being 
remitted by the king. When he was in prison he was 
visited by his friends, and by many even of the clergy of the 
church of England who sympathized with his sufferings, 
and deplored the injustice he had received. During his im- 
prisonment he enjoyed more quietness, as he admits, than 
he had done for many years before. So that in fact the 
hardship he suffered was not great, though the conduct 
of those who prosecuted and condemned him cannot be 
sufficiency reprobated. We have an account of him in 
prison from the well known Matthew Henry, in a letter 
addressed to his father in 1685. 

" I went into Southwark, to ]\Jr Baxter. I was to wait 
upon him once before, and then he was busy. I found 
him in pretty comfortable circumstances, though a pri- 
soner, in a private house near the prison, attended on by 
his own man and maid. My good friend, Mr [Samuel] 
; Lawrence,] went with me. He is in as good health as 
one can expect; and. methinks, looks better, and speaks 
heartier, than when I saw him last. The token you sent, 

BAX. 93 

he would by no means be persuaded to accept, and was 
almost angry when I pressed it, from one outed as well as 
bimself. He said be did not use to receive ; and I un- 
derstand since, bis need is not great. 

" We sat witb bim about an bour. I was very glad to 
find tbat be so mucb approved of my present circumstances. 
He said be knew not wby young men migbt not improve 
as well, as by travelling abroad. He inquired for bis 
Shropshire friends, and observed, that of those gentlemen 
who were with him at Wem, be bears of none whose sons 
tread in their father's steps but Colonel Hunt's. He in- 
quired about Mr Macworth's, and Mr Lloyd's (of Aston) 
children. He gave us some good counsel to prepare for 
trials ; and said the best preparation for them was, a life 
of faith, and a constant course of self-denial. He thought 
it harder constantly to deny temptations to sensual lusts 
and pleasures, than to resist one single temptation to deny 
Christ for fear of suffering ; the former requiring such 
constant watchfulness : however, after the former, the 
latter will be the easier. He said, we who are young are 
apt to count upon great things, but we must not look for 
them; and much more to this purpose. He said he 
thought dying by sickness usually much more painful and 
dreadful, than dying a violent death ; especially consider- 
ing the extraordinary supports which those have who suffer 
for righteousness' sake." 

The notes and passages referred to in the paraphrase 
are here given, and while the reader will conclude that 
Baxter received hard measure, we cannot but remark on 
the irreverent and unchastened tone of mind with which 
be ventured to approach the most sacred subjects, and on 
the absence of tbat Christian temper of forgiveness, which 
we should have expected in a Christian advanced in 

Matt. v. 19. " If any shall presume to break the least 
of these commands, because it is a little one, and teach 
men so to do, he shall be vilified as he vilified God's law, 
and not thought fit for a place in the kingdom of the 

94 BAX. 

Messiah ; but he shall be there greatest that is most exact 
in doing and teaching all the law of God." 

Note. — "Are not those preachers and prelates, then, the 
least and basest, that preach and tread down Christian 
love of all that dissent from any of their presumptions, 
and so preach down, not the least, but the great com- 

Mark iii. 6. "It is folly to doubt whether there be 
devils, while devils incarnate dwell among us. What else 
but devils, sure, could ceremonious hypocrites consult with 
politic royalists to destroy the Son of God, for saving 
men's health and lives by miracle ? Query : Whether 
this withered hand had been their own, they would have 
plotted to kill him that would have cured them by mira- 
cle, as a sabbath-breaker ? And whether their successors 
would silence and imprison godly ministers, if they could 
cure them of all their sicknesses, help them to preferment, 
and give them money to feed their lusts." 

Mark ix. 39. Note. — " Men that preach in Christ's 
name, therefore, are not to be silenced, though faulty : if 
they do more good than harm, dreadful, then, is the case 
of them that silence Christ's faithful ministers." 

Mark xi. 31. Note. — " It was well that they considered 
what might be said against them, which now most Chris- 
tians do not in their disputes. These persecutors, and 
the Romans, had some charity and consideration, in that 
they were restrained by the fear of ' the people, and did 
not accuse and fine them, as for routs, riots, and sedi- 

Mark xii. 38-40. Note. — " Let not these proud hypocrites 
deceive you, who, by their long liturgies and ceremonies, 
and claim of superiority, do but cloak their worldliness, 
pride, and oppression, and are religious to their greater 

Luke x. 2. Note. — "Priests now are many, but labourers 
are few. What men are they that hate and silence the 
faithfullest labourers, suspecting that they are not for 
their interest ?" 

BAX. 95 

John xi. 57. Note. — " 1. Christ's ministers are God's 
ordinances to save men, and the devil's clergy use them 
for snares, mischief, and murder. 2. They will not let 
the people be neuters between God and the devil, but 
force them to be informing persecutors." 

Acts xv. 2. Note. — "1. To be dissenters and disputants 
against errors and tyrannical impositions upon conscience 
is no fault, but a great duty. 2. It is but a groundless 
fiction of some that tell us that this was an appeal to 
Jerusalem, because it was the metropolis of Syria and An- 
tioch, as if the metropolitan church power had been then 
settled; when, long after, when it was devised, indeed, 
Antioch was above Jerusalem ; and it is as vain a fiction 
that this was an appeal to a general council, as if the 
apostles and elders at Jerusalem had been a general coun- 
cil, when none of the bishops of the Gentile churches 
were there, or called thither. It is notorious that it was 
an appeal to the apostles, taking in the elders, as those 
that had the most certain notice of Christ's mind, having 
conversed with him, and being intrusted to teach all 
nations whatever he commanded them, and had the 
greatest measure of the Spirit ; and also, being Jews 
themselves, were such as the Judaising Christians had no 
reason to suspect or reject:" — Baxter's Xew Testament in 

The biographer and eulogist of Baxter, Mr Orme, 
remarks, that " some of the phraseology is pointed and 
severe, characteristic of Baxter's style, but all justly called 
for by the treatment which he and others had experi- 
enced." The writer of this sentence forgot at the moment 
that Baxter professed to be the follower of Him who, 
" when He was reviled, reviled not again, when He suffered 
He threatened not." 

But Baxter was more liberal than the other puritans 
with whom he was associated : though his mind was so 
constituted that he could accord entirely with no one, he 
says : 

" If I were among the Greeks, the Lutherans, the In- 

96 BAX. 

dependents, yea, the anabaptists, owning no heresy, nor 
setting themselves against charity and peace, I would 
sometimes hold occasional communion with them as 
Christians, if they would give me leave, without forcing 
me to any sinful subscription or action ; though my most 
usual communion should be with that society which I 
thought most agreeable to the word of God if I were free 
to choose. I cannot be of their opinion, that think God 
will not accept him that prayeth by the Common Prayer 
Book ; and that such forms are a self-invented worship, 
which God rejecteth ; nor yet can I be of their mind that 
say the like of extempore prayers." 

After he was released from prison he continued to live 
some time within the rules of the King's Bench ; till, on 
the 28th of February, 1687, he removed to his house in 
Charterhouse yard ; and, as far as health would permit, 
assisted Mr Sylvester in his public labours. He was too 
old to take much part in the revolutionary movements of 
1688, and what his opinions were with reference to the 
revolution itself is unknown. The dissenting ministers 
of London waited upon the Stadtholder on his arrival 
with a Dutch army in London, and assured him of their 
hearty concurrence in his enterprise ; but Baxter does not 
appear to have been of their number. When the tolera- 
tion act passed, dissenters were placed under the full 
protection of the law, on taking the oaths to government, 
and subscribing thirty-five and a half, of the thirty-nine 
articles. This was the last public measure in regard to 
which Baxter took an active part. He drew up a paper 
containing his sense of the articles he was called upon to 
subscribe. It is curious to see the same presumption 
of mind operating to the last. As the youth of tv> enty- 
three sat in judgment upon his mother, the church of 
England; so the nonconforming Septuagenarian sat in 
judgment on the Catholic Church; for, among other 
things, he objected, except with an explanation, to one 
important article in the Nicene creed, namely, to the 
clause which describes our Lord as " God of God, very 

BAX. 97 

God of very God ;" whereby he proved himself as ignorant 
as he certainly was presumptuous : nor could he assent to 
the damnatory clauses of the Athanasian creed, by which 
every clergyman of the church of England, having signed 
the thirty-nine articles in their plain literal meaning, 
assents to an awful anathema upon all who do not hold 
the doctrine of the Trinity in the Catholic sense. It seems 
certain that he and others were permitted to subscribe in 
what has since been called a " non-natural" sense. 

The labours and the life of Baxter were now drawing 
to a close, and on looking back upon his past life, he 
remarks : 

" In my younger years, my trouble for sin was most 
about my actual failings ; but now I am much more trou- 
bled for inward defects and omissions, for want of the vital 
duties or graces of the soul. My daily trouble is so much 
for my ignorance of God, weakness of belief, want of 
greater love to God, strangeness to Him and to the life to 
come, and for want of a greater willingness to die, and 
more longing to be with God in heaven, that I take not 
some immoralities, though very great, to be in themselves 
so great and odious sins, if they could be found separate 
from these. Had I all the riches of the world, how gladly 
should I give them for a fuller knowledge, belief, and 
love, of God and everlasting glory ! These wants are the 
greatest burden of my life, which oft maketh my life itself 
a burden. I cannot find any hope of reaching so high in 
these enjoyments, while I am in the flesh, as I once hoped 
before this time to have attained ; which maketh me the 
wearier of this sinful world, that is honoured with so little 
of the knowledge of God." 

" Heretofore, I placed much of my religion in tender- 
ness of heart, grieving for sin, and penitential tears ; and 
less of it in the love of God, in studying His goodness, and 
engaging in His joyful praises, than now I do. Then I 
was little sensible of the greatness and excellency of love 
and praise, though I coldly spake the same words as now 

VOL. II. i 

P8 BAX, 

I do. I am less troubled for want of grief and tears 
(though I value humility, and refuse not needful humilia- 
tion^, but my conscience now looketh at love and delight 
in God, and praising Him as the top of all my religious 
duties ; for which it is that I value and use the rest." 

He justly observes in another place : — " It can be no 
small sin formally, which is committed against knowledge 
and conscience and deliberation, whatever excuse it have. 
To have sinned while I preached and wrote against sin, 
and had such abundant and great obligations from God, 
and made so many promises against it, doth lay me very 
low : not so much in fear of hell, as in great displeasure 
against myself, and such self- abhorrence as would cause 
revenge upon myself, were it not forbidden. When God 
forgiveth me, I cannot forgive myself; especially for my 
rash words or deeds, by which I have seemed injurious 
and less tender and kind than I should have been to my 
near and dear relations, whose love abundantly obliged 
me. When such are dead, though we never differed in 
point of interest, or any other matter, every sour, or cross 
provoking word which I gave them, maketh me almost 
irreconcilable to myself, and tells me how repentance 
brought some of old to pray to the dead whom they had 
wronged, to forgive them, in the hurry of their passion. 

"That which I named before, by-the-by, is grown one of 
my great diseases ; I have lost much of that zeal which I 
had to propagate any truths to others, save the mere fun- 
damentals. When I perceive people or ministers to think 
they know what indeed they do not, which is too common, 
and to dispute those things which they never thoroughly 
studied, or expect that I should debate the case with them, 
as if an hour's talk would serve instead of an acute under- 
standing and seven years' study, I have no zeal to make 
them of my opinion, but an impatience of continuing dis- 
course with them on such subjects, and am apt to be silent 
or to turn to something else ; which, though there be some 
reason for it, I feel cometh from a want of zeal for tl e 
truth, and from an impatient temper of mind. I am 

BAX. 99 

ready to thiDk that people should quickly understand all 

in a few words ; and if they cannot, to despair of them, 
and leave them to themselves. I know the more that this 
is sinful in me, because it is partly so in other things, 
even about the faults of my servants or other inferiors : if 
three or four times warning do no good to them, I am 
much tempted to despair of them, turn them away, and 
leave them to themselves. 

" I mention all these distempers that my faults may be 
a warning to others to take heed, as they call on myself 
for repentance and watchfulness. Lord ! for the merits, 
and sacrifice, and intercession of Christ, be merciful to 
me, a sinner, and forgive my known and unknown sins !" 

The latter years of his life were full of bodily suffering 
and sorrow ; he was less occupied as a preacher, but was 
still indefatigable as a writer. He died on the 8th of 
December, 1691. 

He is said to have written above 120 books, and to have 
had above 60 written against him ; but the chief of his 
works are. — 1. A Narrative of his own Life and Times. 
2. The Saints* Everlasting Eest. 3. A Paraphr^ 
the New Testament. 4. A Call to the Unconverted. 
5. Dying Thoughts. 6. Poor Man's Family Book. 

In some of these works, intermixed of course with much 
that is erroneous, there are some beautiful thoughts, and 
the fervour with which he threw his whole soul into what 
he wrote, has secured for them attention even in the 
present day. — Baxter's Life and Tknt 
and the contemporary Historians. 

Bates. Joshua, was born at Sheffield, in 1671, and was 
one of the first persons set apart as preachers by the pres- 
byterian dissenters, in 1694. His meeting-house was in 
Leather Lane, Holborn, and he was concerned in what is 
called the Merchant's Lecture, at Salter's hall. He assist- 
ed in completing the exposition of the Bible which had 
been left unfinished by Matthew Henry He died in J 740 
— Gen. Diet. 

100 BAY. 

Bayley, Anselm, was educated at Christ church, Ox- 
ford, where he took the degree of doctor of laws in 1764. 
He became minor canon of St Paul's and of Westminster 
abbey, and also sub-dean of the Chapel Royal. He died in 
1794. His works are — I. The Antiquity, Evidence, and 
Certainty of Christianity canvassed, 8vo. 2. A Practical 
Treatise on Singing and Playing, 8vo. 3. A plain and 
complete Grammar of the English language, 8vo. 4. A 
Grammar of the Hebrew language, 8vo. 5. The Old 
Testament, English and Hebrew, with remarks, 4 vols. 
8vo. 6. The Commandments of God, in the Jewish and 
Christian churches ; two sermons, 8vo. 7. The Alliance 
between Music and Poetry, 8vo — Gent. Mag. 

Bayly, Lewis, was born at Caermarthen, and educated 
at Oxford, where he became reader of the sentences in 
Exeter-college in 1611. About the same time he was 
vicar of Evesham, in Worcestershire, chaplain to Prince 
Henry, and rector of St Matthew, Friday-street, London. 
In 1613, he accumulated his degrees in divinity, and in 
1616 was consecrated bishop of Bangor. In 1621, he was 
committed to the Fleet, but upon what account is not 
stated. He died in 1632, and was interred in the cathe- 
dral of Bangor. This bishop wrote a book, which was 
once extremely popular, and went through sixty editions 
in English, besides several in Welch. The title is " The 
Practice of Piety," 8vo. and 12mo. — Biog. Brit. 

Bayly, Thomas, the youngest son of the bishop, was 
educated at Cambridge, and in 1638 obtained the sub- 
deanery of Wells. Being at Oxford in 1644, he was 
created doctor in divinity, and two years afterwards he 
resided as chaplain to the marquis of Worcester, at Rag- 
land-castle ; on the surrender of which place, he was em- 
ployed to draw up the articles of capitulation. After this, 
he travelled abroad, but returned in 1649, and published 
a book entitled, " Certamen Religiosum, or a conference 
between king Charles I. and Henry, late marquis of Wor- 
cester, concerning religion, in Ragland-castle, anno 1646." 

BEATON. 101 

This work is said to have been written for no other 
purpose, than to justify the doctor's conduct in quitting 
the church of England for that of Rome. But the 
truth of this is questionable, for the relation has all the 
evidence of being a real conference ; and the arguments 
stated to have been advanced by the king, are far stronger 
than those on the other side. The same year Dr Bayly 
published " The Royal Charter granted unto Kings ;" for 
which he was sent to Newgate ; and while there, wrote a 
a book, entitled " Herba parietis, or the Wall-Flower, as 
it grows out of the stone chamber belonging to the metro- 
politan prison," folio, 1G50. Soon after this he effected 
his escape, and went to Douay, where he published a book 
called "Dr Bayly's Challenge, in justification of his con- 
version." He next travelled into Italy, and died very 
poor, in 1659. Besides the above works, he published — 
1. Worcester's Apophthegms, or Witty Sayings, of the 
Right Honourable Henry, late Marquess and Earl of Wor- 
cester, 12mo. 1650. 2. The Life of Bishop Fisher, 12mo. 
This last, however, is said to have been written by Dr 
Richard Flail, canon of the church of St Omer's, who died 
in 1604, and the manuscript falling into the hands of 
Dr Bayly, he published it as his own. — Biog. Brit. D odd's 
Church Hist. 

Beaton, James. This prelate is rather to be regarded 
as a statesman than a divine, and the notice of him will 
accordingly be brief. He was descended from the family 
of Beatons of Balfour, in Fifeshire, and was appointed 
provost of the collegiate church of Bothwell, in 1503. In 
the next year he became abbot of Dunfermline and prior 
of Whitern ; and in 1505, through the favour of king 
James VI. , to whom he was greatly acceptable, was pro- 
moted to the office of lord high treasurer. In 1508 he 
was elected bishop of Galloway, and, in the same year, 
was raised to the archiepiscopal see of Glasgow, on which 
he resigned the treasurer's place. 
2 l 

102 BEATON. 

When, after the battle of Flodden- field, the regency was 
entrusted to the queen mother, Beaton was a prominent 
member of the council appointed to advise her; and 
when, through her marriage with the earl of Angus, her 
authority ceased, it was chiefly through his intervention 
that the duke of Albany was enabled to succeed to the 
government. He was rewarded by the grateful regent 
on his accession to power (1515) with the office of 
chancellor of the kingdom. He obtained at the same 
time the abbacies of Arbroath and Kilwinning, in com- 

In 1522 he became archbishop of St Andrews and pri- 
mate of the Scottish Church. Referring the reader to the 
history of Scotland for a narrative of Beaton's conduct as a 
statesman, we shall only mention here, that in his primacy 
the first blood was shed in the cause of protestantism. 

There were many good and earnest men who felt that a 
reform was required in the established church, but the 
government was unsettled and the age was revolutionary, 
and they were afraid to move. Their constant reference, 
however, to the corruptions of the Scottish establishment, 
awakened the enthusiasm and inflamed the passions of 
younger men. A party among the nobles who envied the 
wealth of the Church, and were unscrupulous in their mea- 
sures for the advancement of their faction, were soon found 
to encourage the protestant feeling. At the same time 
Scotland was divided into two great parties, the one deter- 
mined to maintain the independence of the country, and 
in the French interest, the other in the English interest, 
ready, from personal motives, to bring Scotland into sub- 
jection to the English crown. As the protestants belonged 
entirely to the latter party, they were of course obnoxious 
on political as well as on religious grounds to the exist- 
ing government. Every conservative feeling was aroused 
against the innovators, who were seeking to reform the 
Church, and in their zeal for reform would not care to 
sacrifice the independence of their country. The pro- 


testants, at first consisted of earnest and zealous men, 
admired for their talents and respected for their vir- 
tues : while they remained few in number and beneath 
notice as a party, the government was quiescent, notwith- 
standing the frequent exhortations of timid conservatives 
who required that strong measures should be adopted to 
put them down. The fury of those, who, attached to the 
establishment of the country, required the destruction of 
the innovators, has not been surpassed even by the violence 
of puritans, when, at a subsequent period, puritanism was 
in the ascendant : the heads of the Church and the minis- 
ters of the crown were rebuked as careless and indifferent 
by those who arrogated to themselves the title of their 
best supporters. In the meantime hot-headed young men 
had joined the protectant party, and the whole party had 
been hurried into excesses ; they boldly proclaimed that 
tithes ought not to be paid to the clergy, that every faith- 
ful man and woman is a priest, that the unction of kings 
ceased at the coming of Christ, that the blessing of bishops 
is of no value, that excommunication of the Church is 
not to be feared, that oaths are in all cases unlawful, 
that true Christians receive the Body of Christ every day : 
many added that man has no free will, that all good Chris- 
tians know that they are under grace, that works can make 
us neither good nor evil, and can neither save nor con- 
demn us ; they even went so far as to say that God is the 
author of sin, since He withholds his grace from some, and 
since without grace they must of necessity sin. The poli- 
tical principles maintained by this party may be gathered 
from the account of John Major, the author of the De 
Gestis Sectorum, as given by Dr Mc'Crie, who says that 
he taught "that the authority of kings and princes were 
originally derived from the people; that the former are not 
superior to the latter collectively considered ; that if the 
rulers become tyrannical, or employ their power for the 
destruction of their subjects, they may lawfully be con- 
trolled by them ; and proving incorrigible may be deposed 
by the community as the superior power; and that tyrants 

104 BEATON. 

may be judicially proceeded against, even to capital pun- 
ishment. "The affinity," he adds, "between these and 
the political opinions afterwards avowed by Knox, and de- 
fended by the classic pen of Buchannan, is too striking to 
require illustration." However consistent these principles 
may have been with the religion of John Knox, who justi- 
fied the murder of Cardinal Beaton and David Rizzio, — 
who deposed the queen-regent of Scotland, and embittered 
the life of her daughter by his insults, — we are not to be 
surprised at finding the conservative feeling of the nation 
excited against those who at first maintained them ; or 
that when the innovators increased in number, the autho- 
rities in church and state should determine to act against 
them. They thought, by acting vigorously, to put an end 
to what they regarded as an evil. In those days it never 
occurred to any one that such an evil could be corrected 
except by a public execution. The same class of persons 
who a few years ago justified the custom of executing those 
who had been convicted of forgery, on the ground that 
whatever other good qualities they possessed, the welfare 
of a commercial country required their death, would, at 
the period now under consideration, demand for the same 
reasons the blood of heretics. Blood indeed was shed on 
all sides, catholics had recourse to legal executions, pro- 
testants to assasinations and murder, each party thinking 
the means to be justified by the end. 

The first victim was Patrick Hamilton, abbot of Feme, 
a Premonstratensian monastery in Ross-shire, who having 
learned protestantism from Luther and Melancthon in 
Germany, preached it with vehemence on his return home. 
He was tried, found guilty, and executed at St Andrews. 
But persecution has never answered the purpose for which 
it was intended, and as if to mark the divine disapproba- 
tion, the result always is, that it proves injurious to the 
cause it was designed to serve. This was seen to be the 
case by the religious as distinguished from the political 
catholics of the period, insomuch that in 1533, when a 
young Benedictine. Henry Forest, was condemned to 

BEATON. 105 

be burnt, one of the archbishops recommended that he 
should be burnt in a cellar, for, said he, " the smoke of 
Patrick Hamilton hath infected all those on whom it 
blew." The manner in which evidence was obtained 
against both Hamilton and Forest was infamous : they 
were both entrapped by pretended friends into a con- 
fession which was used as evidence against them ; and in 
the case of Forest, this confession was made sacramen- 
tally, and in receiving as well as giving it for the purpose 
of condemning him, a principle of the Church was grossly 
violated. But Forest seems to have been a man of violent 
temper. When he was to be degraded he cried with a 
loud voice " Fie a' falsehood ! fie a' false friars ! revealers 
of confession : after this day let no man ever trust any 
false friars, contemners of God's word and deceivers of 
men." When they proceeded to degrade him of his orders, 
he said with a loud voice, " Take from me not only your 
orders, but also your own baptism." 

James Beaton was a man of enormous wealth, and was 
described by the English ambassadors as " the man next 
the king, of the greatest substance both of lands and goods, 
and most esteemed for his policy and wisdom of others." 
He lived magnificently, and nearly succeeded in purcha- 
sing a cardinal's hat. When it is added that in private 
life he was licentious, it will be seen how much the Scot- 
tish church at this time needed a reform, and how natural 
were the feelings of indignation which the protestants 
exhibited, although those feelings hurried them to frightful 
excesses. He was not devoid of humanity, and the design 
of the new Divinity Hall at Aberdeen was conceived by 
him, though he did not live to execute it. 

He died in 1539. With reference to his persecutions, it 
is said that he was very reluctant to have recourse to them, 
and acted rather as a conservative statesman than as a 
theologian, for, as Spotiswood observes, " he was neither 
violently set, nor indeed much solicitous, as was thought, 
how matters went in the Church." — Spotiswood. Keith. 
Tytler. Lyons Hist, of St Andrews. Crawford. 

106 BEATON. 

Beaton, David, nephew to the archbishop, of the same 
name, of whom an account has been given in the preceding 
article, was born in the year 1494, and was educated first 
at St Andrews and afterwards at Paris, where he greatly 
distinguished himself. He remained in France for some 
time after his ordination, and was at an early period em- 
ployed by John duke of Albany. As David Beaton, like 
his uncle, was more a statesman than a divine, it will be 
unnecessary to do more than allude to the many prefer- 
ments he held, and to refer the reader to Tytler's History 
of Scotland for an account of his administration and poli- 
tical intrigues. But we cannot refrain from again alluding 
to the miserable condition of the church in Scotland, when 
ecclesiastical preferments were thus used as the cheap 
means of remunerating a minister of the crown ; nor let 
it be forgotten that this was done with the full sanction of 
the pope of Rome. When in 1528 he became abbot of 
Arbroath, the pope, dispensed with his taking the habit 
for two years, at the wish of the king, who desired his 
attendance in France. In the application made in his 
behalf, Beaton was styled protonotary of St Andrews, 
the king's domestic counsellor and servant, and chancellor 
of the church of Glasgow. He had been appointed in 
1519 resident at the court of France, and at that time, 
being only in deacon's orders, he received from the arch- 
bishop of Glasgow the rectory of Campsay. In 1528 he be- 
came Lord High Privy Seal ; and by his advice, it is 
said, James established in 1530 the college of Justice. 
In his various " missions for political objects to France, he 
so conciliated the esteem of Francis I., that in 1537 the 
French king granted him a license to hold lands and to 
acquire benefices in France ; and at the same time con- 
ferred upon him the bishopric of Mirepoix. On his return 
to Scotland he became coadjutor of his uncle the arch- 
bishop of St Andrews, and, owing to the infirmities of his 
grace, possessed all the power and influence which at that 
time attached to the metropolitan see. On the 28th of 
December, 1538, pope Paul III. raised him to the dignity 
of Cardinal in the Roman church, by the title of St Ste- 

BEATON. 107 

phen in Monte Coelio. He was thus a Scotch archbishop, 
a French bishop, and a Roman cardinal. On the death 
of James Beaton, a few months afterwards, he succeeded 
to the primacy of the Scottish church. 

As soon as he had been appointed to the primacy he 
determined to act vigorously against the reforming party. 
He was himself a man of licentious habits, a statesman, 
and even a warrior : he is said on one occasion to have 
challenged an opponent to single combat ; he was secular 
in all his feelings ; he cared therefore as little for religion 
as the mere political advocate of Church and state in the 
present day, although violent against all opponents. But 
the reformers in Scotland were radical reformers, and 
were prepared for revolution in the state, as well as in the 
Church : in England where, except during the short reign 
of Mary, the civil authorities were favourable to a reform 
in the Church, the leading reformers were inclined to pay 
a deference to the crown which must be considered by us 
excessive ; but in Scotland, where an anti-reform govern- 
ment existed they were goaded on almost to frenzy, and 
were prepared for any revolutionary violence. Cardinal 
Beaton, therefore, as a politician, determined to put them 
down with a strong hand, and being a churchman also, 
was able to avail himself of the instru mentality of the 
Church. Accordingly he repaired to St Andrews attended 
by the earls of Huntley, Arran, Marshal, and Montrose ; 
the lords Fleming, Lindsay, Erskine, Somerville, Torphi- 
chen, and Seaton, and several other barons and men of 
rank; together with five bishops; and there, in May 1540, 
he held a visitation, at which, enquiry was made after 
heretics, and sir John Borthwick was condemned for con- 
tumacy. About the same time John Killor, a black friar, 
Duncan Simpson, a priest of Stirling, Dean Thomas 
Forret, vicar of Dalor and canon regular, John Beverage, 
black friar, and Robert Forrester, were condemned as 
heresiarchs or chief heretics and teachers of heresy. We 
are led to pity these sufferers the more, when we consider 
the state of the established church in Scotland at tins 

108 BEATON. 

period. The bishops, of whom the cardinal was not the 
worst specimen, were most of them worldly men, thinking 
more of their own honour than of promoting God's glory ; 
the clergy, when ecclesiastical honours were not within 
their reach, were, with some honourable exceptions, seek- 
ing their comforts, and among them concubinage very 
generally prevailed: a fact which proved their sensual 
character, and tended to increase and perpetuate their de- 
moralization. They were not permitted to be honourably 
married, and though they considered themselves to be so 
virtually, yet they felt that there was a stigma upon their 
character, and that they could not be accounted devout 
men, and so they fell into carelessness of living. That 
earnest minded men should be offended at this state of 
things is not to be wondered at ; nor is it surprising that 
from censuring the conduct of the clergy they should pro- 
ceed to a protest against the many strange doctrines 
which had crept into the Church : as the first reformers 
were generally of the clerical order, it was the more 
natural that they should thus go to the root of the evil. 
By the bishops and leading persons in Church and state 
they were met with hatred and contempt, with misrepre- 
sentation and abuse; and thus by degrees, those who com- 
menced their career, like sir John Borthwick, who has 
just been mentioned, as very moderate reformers, were 
hurried on to the most unjustifiable excesses, and instead 
of seeking to reform the Church, joined in the infidel cry 
of " down with it, down with it, even to the ground." 

Well would it have been for Beaton if his angry feel- 
ings could have evaporated in a mere visitation charge, or 
if the latitudinarian conservatives of the day had been con- 
tented with a censure of the reformers upon paper. He 
was unfortunately invested with arbitrary power, and 
arbitrarily did he use it. By the class of men who would 
in these days crowd Exeter Hall to hear a denunciation of 
the papists, consigning in their imaginations those from 
whom they differed to everlasting perdition, Beaton was 
in those days applauded. His course was approved by 

BEATON. 109 

the nobles of the land, until their influence was purchased 
by the reformers through the offer of the property of the 

Cardinal Beaton, like his uncle, though scandalous as a 
prelate, was nevertheless an honourable man of the world, 
and a lover of his countiy. In order to obtain and to pre- 
serve his political influence and station, he had recourse 
to all the arts of the politician, but the honour and inde- 
pendence of Scotland was ever near his heart. The re- 
formers, and those of the nobility who from political con- 
siderations joined their party, were willing to hand over 
the government of Scotland to the king of England, who 
was intriguing for this purpose. It had long been a 
favourite object with Henry VIII to unite the two king- 
doms under one of his own family : the immediate end 
aimed at by himself and his faction in Scotland was 
to effect a marriage union between his son, prince Edward, 
and Mary, the infant queen of Scots ; and he stipulated to 
have charge of the infant queen's person and education, and 
to be put in possession of the chief fortresses in Scotland, to 
enjoy the title of Protector of Scotland, with power to ap- 
point a local regent to act under his directions. How any 
patriotic mind could consent to such a measure it is diffi- 
cult to imagine : the cardinal was resolutely opposed to it, 
and the whole of his ministerial career seems to have 
been devoted to the frustration of the schemes of the 
English king. Cardinal Beaton had therefore in Henry 
a deadly and unscrupulous enemy. Henry the VIHth 
had the more power as he was regarded as the patron of 
the reformation in Scotland, and as the reformers at all 
times looked for protection from him. The royal reformer 
checked the excesses of the reforming party in England as 
caprice might suggest, or sound policy dictate ; but in 
Scotland he gave the reformers his consistent support. In 
point of morals there was not much to choose between the 
illustrious reformer on the one hand, and the head of the 
Scottish conservatives in Church and state on the other, 


110 BEATON. 

but it must be admitted that Beaton never had recourse to 
such base and mean arts against his adversary, as Henry, 
to his everlasting disgrace, condescended to employ. Not 
only did Henry, through his minister, seek at one time to 
destroy, by misrepresentation, the influence of Beaton with 
his sovereign, but he entered at a later period into a con- 
spiracy for his private assassination. The offer was made 
by the earl of Cassilis, one of the reformers, " for the 
killing of the cardinal if his majesty would have it done, 
and promise when it was done a reward." The king's 
answer to the earl of Hertford, through whom the pro- 
posal was transmitted, was, " that his highness reputing 
the fact not meet to be set forward expressly by his ma- 
jesty will not seem to do in it, and yet not misliking the 
offer, thinketh it good that Mr Sadler," to whom Cassilis, 
in the first instance, made the offer, " should write to the 
earl," and say, that he had not thought proper to com- 
municate the project to the king, but that "if he were in 
the earl of Cassilis's place, and were as able to do his 
majesty good service there, as he knoweth him to be, and 
thinketh a right good will in him to do it, he would surely 
do what he could for the execution of it," trusting that 
" the king's majesty would consider his service in the 

The conspirators, as cautious as Henry, were not 
satisfied with this answer, and the plot was not immedi- 
ately executed, though the assassination of the cardinal at 
no distant period was determined upon. Of those who 
were fixed upon to carry into effect this diabolical plot, 
some were personal enemies of the cardinal, seeking an 
opportunity of revenge, some were mercenary wretches, 
ready to execute any villany for money, and others were 
reforming preachers. Among the persons engaged in 
the plot, George Wishart, called by presbyterians " the 
martyr," was one; and there seems to be little doubt that 
Beaton was well informed of its existence, Wishart, 
besides his personal hostility to the cardinal, was under the 


influence of excited religious feeling ; he peramly 
the counties of Scotland, denouncing popery and the 
bishops of the established church, under the armed pro- 
tection of the principal conspirators, over whom he exer- 

considerable influence, and at whose hoiu 
lived. From his knowledge of the conspiracy, and his 
acquaintance with the political intrigues of the day, he 
sometimes ventured to prophecy, and this he did with 
such accuracy, that many religious persons, who were 
moved by his preaching, regarded him as inspired. I 
these circumstances, Beaton determined to have him 
arrested and tried on a charge of heresy, which he knew, 
as the law then stood, he would have no difficulty in 
substantiating. Accordingly, he prevailed on the governor 
of Scotland to send a troop of horse under the command 
of the earl of Bothwell, in the beginning of the year 1546, 
into East Lothian, where Wishart was staving with one of 
the conspirators. Two celebrated reformers were in his 
company at the time, John Knox and James Melville : it 
was suspicious company, for John Knox maintained the 
general doc-trine that it was lawful to destroy tyrants, and 
the preacher Melville actually gave the fatal stroke to the 
cardinal. As soon as Wishart was secured, he was 
to St Andrews, and placed under the charge of the cardinal 
himself, who hastened his trial. The forms of ji 
appear to have been strictly observed at the trial, and 
Wishart, though the real cause of his death was his deter- 
mination to assassinate the cardinal, since this could not 
be at the time substantiated, though we have now in our 
possession full proof of the fact, was condemned as a 
heretic. His execution as a heretic excited the compas- 
sion of the protestants, and disgusted many who had not 
avowed themselves such. He endured his sufferings with 
apparent composure and astonishing fortitude, being exe- 
cuted on the first of March, 1546. He was accounted a 
martyr to the protestant cause, till of late years : but now, 
when his share in the conspiracy has been fully proved 
his name will probably be obliterated from the protestant 

112 BEATON. 

calender, except by those who consider that the end jus- 
tifies the means however atrocious, and that we may do 
wrong that good may come. 

Immediately after Wishart's execution, the cardinal set 
out on a journey to Tindhaven, for the purpose of marrying 
his daughter to the master of Crawford. The bride 
received a dower of a thousand marks sterling from her 
father, and the ceremony was performed in a style of 
uncommon magnificence. Although the cardinal was 
accused by his enemies of various intrigues, his daughter 
Margaret was his legitimate offspring, for he was married 
before he entered into holy orders, and by his wife, 
Marion Ogilby, daughter of the first lord Ogilby of Airly, 
he had several children. It was not probable that he 
would at this period have outraged public decency by 
celebrating with such magnificence the marriage of an 
illegitimate daughter. After the marriage, the cardinal 
returned to St Andrews, to strengthen his fortifications 
against another threatened attack of his enemy, king 
Henry VIII. 

Meanwhile the conspirators were not idle. Either 
trembling for their own fate, or anxious to be revenged 
for the death of their friend Wishart, they resolved to 
delay no longer the accomplishment of their plot. Having 
succeeded in gaining admission into the castle of St 
Andrews, they murdered the cardinal on the 29th of May, 
1546. The following is Tytler's eloquent account of the 
bloody deed : — " On the evening of the 28th May, Norman 
Lesley came, with only five followers, to St Andrews, and 
rode, without exciting suspicion, to his usual inn. William 
Kirkaldy of Grange was there already, and they were soon 
joined by John Lesley, who took the precaution of entering 
the town after night-fall, as his appearance, from his 
known enmity to Beaton, might have raised alarm. Next 
morning at day-break, the conspirators assembled in small 
detached knots in the vicinity of the castle ; and the 
porter having lowered the drawbridge to admit the masons 
employed in the new works, Norman Lesley, and three 

BEATON. 113 

men with him, passed the gates, and inquired if the 
cardinal was yet awake ? This was done without suspi- 
cion ; and as they were occupied in conversation, James 
Melville, Kirkaldy of Grange, and their followers, entered 
unnoticed ; but on perceiving John Lesley who followed, 
the porter instantly suspected treason, and, springing to 
the drawbridge, had unloosed its iron fastening, when the 
conspirator Lesley anticipated his purpose by leaping 
across the gap. To despatch him with their daggers, cast 
the body into the fosse, and seize the keys of the castle, 
employed but a few minutes; and all was done with 
such silence as well as rapidity, that no alarm had been 
given. With equal quietness the workmen who laboured 
on the ramparts were led to the gate and dismissed. 
Kirkaldy, who was acquainted with the castle, then took 
his station at a private postern, through which alone any 
escape could be made ; and the rest of the conspirators 
going successively to the apartments of the different gen- 
tlemen who formed the prelate's household, awoke them, 
and threatening instant death if they spoke, led them one 
by one to the outer wicket, and dismissed them unhurt. 
In this manner, a hundred workmen and fifty household 
servants were disposed of by a handful of men, who, 
closing the gates and dropping the portcullis, were com- 
plete masters of the castle. Meanwhile, Beaton, the 
unfortunate victim, against whom all this hazard had been 
encountered, was still asleep ; but awakening, and hearing 
an unusual bustle, he threw on a night-gown, and drawing 
up the window of his bedchamber, inquired what it 
meant ? Being answered that Norman Lesley had taken 
the castle, he rushed to the private postern, but seeing it 
already guarded, returned speedily to his own apartment, 
seized his sword, and, with the assistance of his page, 
barricaded the door on the inside with his heaviest 
furniture. John Lesley now coming up, demanded admit- 
tance. ' Who are you?' said the cardinal. 'My name/ 
he replied, « is Lesley.' — ' Is it Norman ?' — asked the 


114 BEATON. 

unhappy man, remembering probably the bond of man- 
rent. ' I must have Norman, he is my friend.' — ■ Nay, I 
am not Norman,' answered the ruffian, ' but John ; and 
with me ye must be contented.' Upon which he called 
for fire, and was about to apply it to the door, when it 
was unlocked from within. The conspirators now rushed 
in, and Lesley and Carmichael throwing themselves 
furiously upon their victim, who earnestly implored mercy, 
stabbed him repeatedly. But ^Melville, a milder fanatic, 
(' a man,' says Knox, • of nature most gentle and most 
modest,') who professed to murder, not from passion, but 
from religious duty, reproved their violence. ■ This judg- 
ment of God,' said he, ' ought to be executed with gravity, 
although in secret ;' and presenting the point of his sword 
to the bleeding prelate, he called on him to repent of his 
wicked courses, and especially of the death of the holy 
Wishart, to avenge whose innocent blood they were now 
sent by God. 'Remember,' said he, 'that the mortal 
stroke I am now about to deal, is not the mercenary blow 
of a hired assassin, but the just vengeance which hath 
fallen on an obstinate and cruel enemy of Christ and the 
holy gospel.' On saying this, he repeatedly passed his 
sword through the body of his unresisting victim, who 
sunk down from the chair to which he had retreated, and 
instantly expired. The alarm had now risen in the town ; 
the common bell was rung ; and the citizens, with their 
^provost, running in confused crowds to the side of the 
fosse, demanded admittance, crying out that they must 
instantly speak with my lord cardinal. They were an- 
swered from the battlements that it would be better for 
them to disperse, as he whom they called for could not 
come to them, and would not trouble the world any longer. 
This, however, only irritated them the more, and being 
urgent that they would speak with him, Norman Lesley 
reproved them as unreasonable fools who desired an 
audience of a dead man ; and dragging the body to the 
spot, hung it by a sheet over the wall, naked, ghastly, and 


bleeding from its recent wounds. ' There,' saidj he, 
■ there is your God ; and now ye are satisfied, get you 
home to your houses:' a command which the people 
instantly obeyed. Thus perished cardinal David Beaton, 
the most powerful opponent of the reformed religion in 
Scotland — by an act which some authors, even in the 
present day, have scrupled to call murder. To these 
writers, the secret and long-continued correspondence with 
England was unknown; a circumstance perhaps to be 
regretted, as it would have saved some idle and angry 
reasoning. By its disclosure, we have been enabled to 
trace the secret history of those iniquitous times ; and it 
may now be pronounced, without fear of contradiction, 
that the assassination of Beaton was no sudden event, 
arising simply out of indignation for the fate of Wishart, 
but an act of long projected murder, encouraged, if not 
originated, by the English monarch, and, so far as the 
principal conspirators were concerned, committed from 
private and mercenary motives." 

It is lamentable to be obliged to add that the murderers 
of Beaton were not thought the worse of by the protest- 
ants, for the part they had taken against their common 
enemy. They received pensions from the royal reformers 
of England, Henry VIII. and Edward VI. ; most of them 
rose to high rank in the army ; John Knox, from his 
" merry account" of the transaction, and from his calling 
it a "godly deed," evidently approved of the murder, and 
was probably privy to it : for he was domestic tutor in the 
family of the laird of Langnidding, one of Wishart 's 
protectors ; he was the intimate friend and sword-bearer 
of "the martyr," and subsequently joined the conspirators 
in the castle of St. Andrews. Besides this, the " Diurnal 
of occurrents in Scotland," expressly states that John 
Knox " took pairt of the said treason." Again, James 
Melville, as Knox himself tells us, "was familiarly 
acquainted with George Wishart," and when he presented 
the sword to the cardinals breast, made use of these words, 


4< remember that the fatal stroke I am now about to deal 
is not the mercenary blow of a hired assassin, but the just 
vengeance which hath fallen on an obstinate, cruel enemy 
of Christ and his holy gospel." Alas, that the name of 
the Son of God should thus be blasphemed by an assassin, 
and alas ! still more, that in the act of murder, the deceitful 
and desperately wicked heart should think it was doing 
God service. But even Fox, the protestant martyrologist, 
affirms that the murderers " were stirred up by the Lord to 
murder the archbishop in his bed ;" and the presbyterian 
historian, Calderwood, says, " the cardinal intended fur- 
ther mischief, if the Lord had not stirred up some men 
of courage to cut him off in time." All this, says Mr Lyon, 
from whose learned dissertation (appendix, xlii.) these 
particulars are taken, " all this shows that in those times 
it was not unusual, even among men of high rank, and 
professing uncommon piety, to do evil that good might 
come, or to justify others in doing so." — Tytler. Lyon. 
Spot is wood. Keith. Skinner. 

Beaucaire de Peguillon, Francis, was born April 
loth, 1514, of one of the most ancient families of the 
Bourbonnois, and was one of the first gentlemen of his 
nation who applied himself to the study of literature. He 
was chosen by Claude de Lorraine, the first duke of 
Guise, to be preceptor to his son, cardinal Charles de 
Lorraine. He attended the cardinal de Lorraine to Rome, 
and on his return the cardinal procured for him the 
bishopric of Metz. It w T as reported that the cardinal 
retained the revenues of the see, though the report can 
only be traced to the imagination of certain calvinists of 
Metz, who could not otherwise account for the cardinal's 
resignation. The calvinists were alarmed on his arrival 
at Metz ; and many of them, to escape martyrdom, fled 
from the town, to which they returned on finding that the 
zeal of the new prelate merely vented itself in two Latin 
tracts on " Sanctification" and " The Baptism of Infants," 
which, as the majority could not understand them, the 


calvinist leaders pronounced to be easily refuted. He was 
taken afterwards by the cardinal to the council of Trent, 
and it was before that assembly that Beaucaire delivered 
the speech which is to be found in his history of his own 
time. At- the council of Trent a misunderstanding occurred 
between the cardinal and the bishop of Metz, the latter 
having given offence to the ultra-montane members of the 
council, by declaring that bishops received their authority 
immediately from God, and that they were not merely the 
pope's delegates, and that the pope's power is not un- 
limited. This is the catholic doctrine, but papists and 
presbyterians are, as regards the divine right of episcopacy, 
of one mind. He resigned his bishopric in 1568, and 
retired to the castle of Creste, his birth-place, where he 
spent his time in study till his death. He composed in 
his retreat a history of his own time, which was published 
in 1625, under the title, Rerum Gallicarum Commentaria, 
fol. Lyon. He also wrote a discourse on the battle of 
Dreux, 4to, Brescia, 1563, reprinted more than once, and 
a treatise De Infantium in Matrum Uteris Sanctificatione, 
8vo, Par. 1565, 1567. The latter treatise was written in 
opposition to the tenets of the calvinists, who hold that 
the children of the faithful are sanctified from their 
mothers, a tenet which implies the denial of original sin, 
and of the necessity of infant baptism. He died February 
14th, 1591.— Moreri. Boyle. 

Beaufoet, Henry, was the son of John of Gaunt, 
duke of Lancaster, by Catherine Swinford : his character 
belongs to the history of statesmen rather than that of 
divines. He studied for some years at Oxford, but had 
his education chiefly at Aix la Chapelle, where he applied 
himself to the civil and common law. The corruptions 
of the church of England were at that time many and 
great, and the young ecclesiastic was in 1397 elected 
bishop of Lincoln in the room of John Buckingham, who 
was unjustly compelled to resign. In 1399 he became 
chancellor of Oxford and dean of Wells ; in 1404 he was 


appointed lord high chancellor, and the following year 
succeeded the celebrated William of Wykeham, in the see 
of Winchester. In 1417 he went to the Holy Land, and 
in his way attended the council of Constance, where he 
exhorted the prelates to union and agreement in the 
election of a pope : his remonstrances are said to have 
contributed not a little to the preparations for the conclave 
in which Martin III. was elected. He was ambitious to 
become a cardinal, an office always unpopular in the 
church of England, as binding the holder of it to a foreign 
church. Henry V. opposed any such appointment as long 
as he lived, but in the next reign, during the royal 
minority, he obtained the consent of the duke of Bedford, 
the regent. He received the cardinal's hat at Calais, in 
1426, with the title of St Eusebius. On his return to 
England he was received with due respect, but by a 
proclamation in the king's name was prohibited from 
exercising his legatine power. The proclamation is as 
follows : " Whereas the most Christian king Henry VI, 
and his progenitors, kings before him of this realm of 
England, have been heretofore possessed time out of mind, 
with a special privilege and -custom used and observed in 
this realm, from time to time, that no legate from the 
apostolic see shall enter this land, or auy of the king's 
dominions, without the calling, petition, request, invita- 
tion, or desire of the king; and forasmuch as Henry, 
bishop of Winchester, and cardinal of St Eusebius, hath 
presumed to enter as legate from the pope, being neither 
called nor desired by the king; therefore the king, by his 
procurator, Richard Caudray, doth protest, by this instru- 
ment, that it standeth not with the king's mind or intent, 
by the advice of Iris council, to admit, approve, or ratify, 
the coming of the said legate in any wise, in derogation of 
the rights and customs of this realm, or to allow and assent 
to any exercise of his legantine power, or to any acts 
attempted by him, contrary to the said laws." Such was 
the determination of our rulers, to maintain the liberty of 
our church, when, by the ambition of private prelates, it was 


betrayed to the pope, even as in later years, from the same 
cause, it has been brought into subjection to the state. 

In 1429 he was, however, appointed the pope's legate 
in Germany, and general of the crusade against the 
Hussites, or heretics of Bohemia, and he prevailed on the 
English parliament to make him a grant of money, with 
permission to raise a force of 250 spearmen and 2500 
bowmen, to enable him to conduct the expedition. Even 
with these he was obliged previously to serve for a certain 
time under the duke of Bedford in France. He conducted 
the crusade in Bohemia with doubtful success, until he 
was recalled by the pope, and cardinal Julian was sent in 
his place, with a larger army. 

In 1430 he crowned Henry VI. at Notre Dame, in 
Paris, and was at this period employed in various diplo- 
matic affairs in France and Flanders, but finding that the 
duke of Gloucester was intriguing against him, he found 
it necessary to return to England. Among other articles 
of impeachment, which had been exhibited against him 
by Gloucester, we find one to be, that "the bishop of 
Winchester had not only taken upon himself the dignity 
and title of a cardinal, contrary to the express command 
of king Henry V, and in derogation of the church of 
Canterbury, but having forfeited his bishopric thereby, by 
the act of provisions, he had procured a bull from the pope 
to secure his bishopric to him, contrary to the laws of the 
realm, which made it praemunire to do so." The laws of 
the realm protected the liberties of our venerable estab- 
lishment, which were, as we have seen before, too often 
betrayed by the ambition of individual prelates. The 
cardinal, however, prevailed over his opponents, and 
obtained letters of pardon from the king, for all offences 
by him committed, contrary to the statute of provisions, 
and other acts of praemunire. Five years after he obtained 
another pardon under the great seal, for all sorts of crimes, 
from the creation of the world to the 26th of July, 143T ! 
This looks like a stretch of the prerogative. 


The history of the cardinal from the time of his return 
to England, becomes little more than the history of his 
struggle with the duke of Gloucester, who died suddenly 
at Bury St Edmund's, in May, 1447. The cardinal 
survived the duke of Gloucester not above a month. The 
public feeling was in favour of the duke and against the 
cardinal, and Shakespeare has perhaps unjustly depre- 
ciated the cardinal, in order to elevate the character of 
" the good duke Humphrey." But there is no evidence of 
his having been, as was suspected, the contriver of the 
duke's murder, or of his being the covetous and reprobate 
character which Shakespeare has represented. On the 
contrary, we find that when Henry V, a little before his 
death, to meet the debts he had contracted by his wars, 
cast his eyes upon the wealth of the Church, and was 
advised to supply his wants out of the spoils thereof, the 
bishop of Winchester, to avert the evil, advanced him as 
a loan, twenty thousand pounds out of his own pocket, a 
prodigious sum in those days. If such generosity had 
existed in our own days, the confiscation of the Irish 
bishoprics and of the cathedral property, might have been 
averted. At all events, if he amassed great sums, the 
public, not a private family, was benefited. He employed 
his wealth in finishing the magnificent cathedral of Win- 
chester, which was left incomplete by his predecessor ; in 
repairing Hyde Abbey, since robbed and destroyed, in the 
same city; in relieving prisoners, and other works of 
charity. But as Dr Milner remarks, what has chiefly 
redeemed the character of cardinal Beaufort in Winchester 
and its neighbourhood, is the new foundation which he 
made of the celebrated hospital of St Cross. For the 
greater part of the present building was raised by him, 
and he added to the establishment of his predecessor, 
Henry de Blois, funds for the support of thirty-five more 
brethren, two chaplains, and three women, who appear to 
have been sisters of charity. The foundation still exists ; 
but exists to the disgrace of our Church. It would be 
well to ascertain how the funds are applied, and whether 


what was intended for charity, shall still be permitted 
only to enrich a master. While such abuses exist, we 
may not, for very shame, speak of idle monks. It appears, 
also, says Dr Milner, that Beaufort prepared himself with 
resignation and contrition for his last end ; and the codicil 
of his will being signed only two days before his death, 
may justly bring into discredit the opinion that he died in 
despair. He directed two thousand marks to be distri- 
buted among the poorer tenants of the bishopric, and 
forgave the rest all that was due to him at the time of his 
death. He left almost to every cathedral and collegiate 
church in England jewels and plate of considerable value, 
particularly to the church of Wells, of which he had been 
dean, 283 ounces of gilt plate, and £418 in money. It is 
but justice to record this of one who had suffered himself 
to be too much involved in the vortex of politics, and was 
often a prey to the passions to which politics give rise. 
— Godwin. Milner's Hist, of Winchester. Gough's Life of 

Beaumont, Lewis, was descended from the blood royal 
of France and Sicily, and was thus related to queen 
Isabella, consort of Edward II. He was made treasurer 
of Salisbury in the year 1294, and was advanced to the 
see of Durham in 1317, under circumstances which re- 
flected great disgrace on the Church. The whole proceed- 
ing is one of those many instances to v>hich we have 
frequently had occasion to refer, which shews how, during 
the middle ages, our excellent establishment was brought 
under the dominion of the popes, through the contests 
between ambitious ecclesiastics and unscrupulous sove- 
reigns. " There were several candidates for the vacant 
bishopric. The earl of Lancaster made interest for one 
John de Kynardsley, promising, in case of his election, to 
defend the see against the Scots. The earl of Hereford 
pushed for John Walwayn, a civilian. The king, who was 
then at York, would have promoted the election of Thomas 

VOL. II. l 

1-2-2 BEAUMONT. 

Charlton, a civilian, and keeper of his privy seal : but the 
queen interposed so warmly in behalf of her kinsman, 
Lewis Beaumont, that the king was prevailed upon to 
write letters to the monks in his favour. Those religious, 
having previously obtained the king's leave to proceed 
to an election, rejected all these applications, and made 
choice of Henry de Stamford, prior of Finchale, an elderly 
man, of a fair character and pleasing aspect, and a good 
scholar. The king would have consented to the election, 
had it not been for the queen, who on her bare knees 
humbly intreated him that her kinsman might be bishop 
of Durham. Whereupon the king refused to admit Henry 
de Stamford, and wrote to the pope in favour of Beaumont. 
At the same time the monks sent the bishop elect to the 
pope's court for his holiness's confirmation : but, before 
his arrival, the pope, at the instances of the kings and 
queens of France and England, had conferred the bishop- 
ric on Beaumont. And, to make Henry some amends, 
his holiness gave him a grant of the priory of Durham 
upon the next vacancy ; but he did not live to enjoy it." 
According to the account of Godwin, it is not surprising 
that even so unscrupulous a pope as John XXII, should 
hesitate at the appointment. Of Beaumont it is related 
by Godwin that " he could not read the bulls and other 
instruments of his consecration. When he should have 
pronounced this word metropoliticm, not knowing what 
to make of it, (though he had studied upon it and 
laboured his lesson long before) after a little pause, Soyt 
purdit (says he) let it go for read, and so passed it over. 
In like sort he stumbled at In an'ujmate. When he 
had fumbled about it a while, par Saint Lowys (quoth he) 
il n est pas curtois qui ceste parolle ici escrit, that is, by 
Saint Lewes, he is to blame that writ this word here. Not 
without great cause, therefore, the pope was somewhat 
straight laced in admitting him. He obtained consecra- 
tion so harshly, as in fourteen years he could scarce creep 
out of debt. Biding to Durham to be installed there, he 


was robbed (together with two cardinals that were then in 
his company) upon Wiglesden moor near Darlington. 
The captains of this route were named Gilbert Middleton 
and "Walter Selby. Not content to take all the treasure of 
the cardinals, the bishop, and their train, they carried the 
bishop prisoner to Morpeth, where they constrained him 
to pay a great ransom. Gilbert Middleton was soon after 
taken at his own castle of Mitford, carried to London, and 
there drawn and hanged in the presence of the cardinals. 
After this, one sir Gosceline Deinuill, and his brother 
Robert, came with a great company to divers of the bishop 
of Durham's houses in the habits of friars, and spoiled 
them, leaving nothing but bare walls, and did many other 
notable robberies, for which they were soon after hanged 
at York. This bishop stood very stoutly in defence of 
the liberties of his see, recovered divers lands taken 
away from Anthony Beake, his predecessor, and procured 
his sentence to be given in the behalf of his church, 
Quod episcopus Dunelmensis, debet habere forisfacturas 
guerrarum intra libertates, sicut Bex extra, that the 
bishop of Durham is to have the forfeitures of war in 
as ample sort within his own liberties as the king without. 
He compassed the city of Durham with a wall, and built 
a hall, kitchen, and chapel at Middleton." 

This bishop had a dispute with the archbishop of York, 
his metropolitan, concerning the right of visitation in the 
jurisdiction of Allerton ; and whenever the archbishop 
came to visit, the bishop of Durham always opposed him 
with an armed force. 

With reference to the decision of the judges alluded to 
in the quotation from Godwin, the learned editor of 
Camden's Britannia tells us that " the bishop of Durham 
antiently had his thanes, and afterwards his barons, who 
held of him by knights service ; and that, on occasions of 
danger, he called them together in the nature of a parlia- 
ment, to advise and assist him with their persons, depend- 
ants, and money, for the public service, either at home 
or abroad. When men and money were to be levied, it 


was done by writs issued in the bishop's name out of the 
chancery of Durham ; and he had power to raise able men 
from sixteen to sixty years of age, and to arm and equip 
them for his service. He often headed his troops in 
person ; and the officers acted under his commission, and 
were accountable to him for their duty. He had a dis- 
cretionary power of marching out against the Scots, or of 
making a truce with them. No person of the palatinate 
could build a castle, or fortify his manor house, without 
the bishop's license. And as he had military power by 
land, so he had likewise by sea. Ships of war were fitted 
out in the ports of the county palatine, by virtue of the 
bishop's writs. He had his admiralty courts ; he ap- 
pointed, by his patents, a vice-admiral, register, and 
marshal or water bailiff, and had all the privileges, for- 
feitures, and profits, incident to that jurisdiction." 

Beaumont died at Brentingham, in the diocese of York, 
September -24th, 1333, leaving the character behind him 
of a worthless, avaricious, and prodigal prelate. — Godwin. 
Wharton. Camden. 

Beaumont, Joseph, was born at Hadleigh, in Suffolk, 
in 1615. At the age of sixteen he went to Peter-house, 
Cambridge, where he took his degrees, and obtained a 
fellowship, of which he was deprived for his loyalty in the 
civil war. He then retired to his native place, and after- 
wards to Tatingston, with his wife, who was step-daughter 
of his patron, Dr Wren, bishop of Ely. At the restoration 
he recovered his preferments, was made chaplain in 
ordinary to the king, aud obtained the degree of doctor in 
divinity by mandamus. In 1663 he was appointed master 
of Jesus college, from whence, the year following, he removed 
to Peter-house ; with which headship he held the chair of 
divinity. He was a man of delicate constitution, as 
appears from his having been obliged to obtain from the 
vice-chancellor of Cambridge a dispensation to eat meat 
in Lent, because fish did not agree with him. This fact 
shews that Church discipline was at that time observed in 


the university. He died in 1699. His works are — 1. 
Psyche, a poem, folio, 1648 ; and again with additions, 
in 1702. 2. Poems in English and Latin, with remarks 
on the Epistle to the Colossians, 4to., 1749. — Jacob's 
Lives of the Poets. 

Beausobre, Isaac, was bom at Xiort, in upper Poitou, 
in 1659. He studied at Saumur, after which he was 
ordained, but his congregation being dissolved by the 
revocation of the edict of Nantes he retired to Holland, 
where he became chaplain to the princess of Anhalt 
Dessau. His first work was an attack upon the Lutherans, 
and was entitled, Defence de la doctrine des Reformes, in 
which he endeavoured to shew that Calvinism was quite 
as respectable in its origin as Lutheranism. He speaks 
strongly against the bigotry of the Lutherans, for con- 
demning all who do not interpret the Bible in the sense of 
Luther. In 1694 he removed to Berlin, where he spent the 
remainder of his life, and exercised his ministry as one of 
the pastors of the French Calvinists } and also as chaplain 
to their majesties. He was besides councellor of the royal 
consistory, inspector of the French college, and of ail the 
French calvinistic churches. He assisted Lenfant to pre- 
pare a translation of the Xew Testament ; the Apocalypse 
and the Epistles of St Paul were allotted to Beausobre. 
The notes are said to have a Socinian tendency ; Calvin- 
ism, when becoming liberal, having always a tendency in 
that direction. He fell in love with a young girl, when 
he was seventy years of age, and either seduced her or 
suffered himself to be seduced by her. The familiarity 
was soon apparent from her pregnancy, and a marriage 
followed. The Calvinists prevented his preaching for four 
or five years, and he employed his leisure in writing a 
history of Manicheism. He died in 1738. Chauffepie's 
Diet. Hist.. 

Beccold, (alias Bockhold, or Bockelson,) John. This 
l a 


leader of the anabaptists was born at Leyden, (and hence 
he is called John of Leyden,) and is chiefly distinguished 
by the part he took in the commotions excited at Munster, 
in 1533, by the Dutch anabaptists, who, says Mosheim, 
" chose that city as the scene of their horrid operations." 
The progress of protestantism had been such, that the 
senate of the city of Munster had driven away the bishop 
and his clergy, and supplied their places in 1532 with 
protestant ministers. The bishop had, in consequence, 
besieged the city, but eventually entered into a treaty 
with the inhabitants, by which it was agreed that catholics 
and protestants should live peaceably together, that the 
former should retain possession of the cathedral, but that 
six churches should be appropriated to the protestants. 
The treaty was signed on the 14th of February, 1533 ; 
and such was the condition of the city, when John 
Beccold, accompanied by John Mathias and Gerhard, 
another anabaptist, appeared there in the November 
following. Beccold's knowledge of Scripture was sur- 
prising, and no one could surpass him in the fluency with 
which he could quote it, and justify by scriptural authority 
all his proceedings. He entered the city determined to 
stand by the Bible only, and to maintain, against both 
Catholics and Lutherans, the right of private judgment. 

When Beccold had prepared a party, Mathias, the 
original leader, appeared suddenly among them, and, 
blowing on them, said, " Receive ye the Holy Ghost." 
They were all of them excited to the highest pitch of 
fanaticism, believing now that they had received a com- 
mission from on high. Rothman, who had introduced 
the reformation into the city, at first opposed them, but 
afterwards joined the party, and such was its progress that 
the anabaptists soon outnumbered the Lutherans. They 
met at night, and converts were still crowding around the 
anabaptist teachers, not only in the churches but in the 
streets and the market-place. The magistrates in alarm 
commanded the leaders to quit the town ; they went, but 


almost immediately returned, declaring that God had 
ordered them to remain in the town, and to labour con- 
stantly to settle their doctrine there. In vain did the 
magistrates invite the anabaptists to a conference, they 
would not submit to any reasonable terms : Ruthus, one 
of the chief of their preachers, on the contrary, pretending, 
or supposing himself to act under divine inspiration, ran 
through the city, in December, 1533, crying out ''Repent, 
and be baptized again, or else the wrath of God will fall 
upon you, for the day of the Lord is at hand." He 
preached with wonderful success, and the re-baptized 
assumed the title of saints. Peasants from different parts 
of Westphalia crowded to the town, regarding the ana- 
baptist doctrine as the perfection of protestantism. The 
multitude took arms, and seizing the senate house, cried 
out, that " they ought to massacre all who were not 
re-baptized." The magistrates endeavoured to negociate, 
but the anabaptists could not be bound by treaties, and 
the magistrates and chief inhabitants fled, leaviDg the 
town to the anabaptists. They elected a new senate and 
new magistrates, and, raising through the city the cry, 
"Repent, or depart this place, ye wicked," they drove away 
all who were not of their religion. John Mathias was now 
the chief authority, and Beccold, or John of Leyden, was 
his lieutenant. The houses were plundered, and Mathias 
commanded all the inhabitants, on pain of death, to bring 
forth all their gold and silver, into the public treasury, 
and to burn all their books but the Bible. He declared 
that the bible only should be the law in his new kingdom. 
The bishop, assisted by the elector of Cologne and the 
duke of Treves, besieged the city, but was driven back, 
the defenders being some thousands in number, all ani- 
mated by the most wild enthusiasm, and a full conviction 
that they, and they only, were the saints. But they 
sustained a loss in the death of their leader Mathias, 
during a sortie from the walls ; a loss, however, which 
did not damp their courage, as Beccold was forthwith 
raised to his place, and by his powerful eloquence, soon 


had them under his control. He had. as was believed, 
many revelations, and was regarded as a prophet ; one of 
the tenets of the sect being, that every impulse from 
within was a movement of the Divine Spirit. Under the 
direction of a divine revelation, as he now pretended, after 
three days silence, he changed the form of government, 
and appointed twelve magistrates instead of the former 
senate ; but the rule of the magistrates, though his own 
creatures, did not continue long, for the people, who had 
been taught that in the kingdom of grace all were equal, 
and that authority, whether civil or ecclesiastical, was 
a tyranny, were astonished one day at being informed that 
the new Israel must henceforth be ruled by a king, and 
that as the Lord had raised up Saul, so had he raised up 
John of Leyden to rule his chosen people. It was per- 
plexing, but the people could have no doubt about the 
revelation, for to one Tuscoschierer the same revelation 
was also made, and the two witnesses were of course 
received. BeccolJ had now passed through fanaticism to 
hypocrisy, and from licentiousness of intellect to licen- 
tiousness of conduct. Still maintaining that he had the 
authority of Scripture for all he did, he determined to 
use, and to permit others to use, the liberty which, as he 
blasphemously asserted, Christ had granted to his saints. 
He married eleven wives, and polygamy was allowed as 
not contrary to God's Word : he proved the fact to the 
satisfaction of the people from the Old Testament ; and 
when a simple man suggested that it was less easy to 
substantiate the new law by the authority of the Xew 
Testament, he was put to death. And now, indeed, blood 
freely flowed, for as Beccold derived his authority from 
(lod, a word or look which was offensive to him, rendered 
the offender worthy of death. Sitting in the market place 
as judge, he decided every case according to his own 
caprice, pretending for each decision a revelation from 
heaven. If a poor woman, not quite convinced of the 
lawfulness of polygamy, complained that her husband had 
taken another wife ; or if another concealed any portion 


of those treasures which ought to have been sent to the 
common treasury ; or if a wife was accused by her husband 
of disobedience — they were sent at once to the block, where 
hundreds suffered for offences such as these. Arrayed in 
splendid robes, with a crown on his head and a sceptre in 
his hand, the quondam tailor of Leyden sat on the judg- 
ment seat, protected by troops, and surrounded by coun- 
sellors clad in purple. 

While Munster was besieged, the anabaptists published 
a book, " The Restitution," in which they promised to the 
elect a kingdom hereafter with Christ, to be on earth, 
before the day of judgment, and after the destruction of 
the ungodly. They taught that the people had a right to 
depose magistrates, to assume civil authority, and to 
establish by force of arms a new form of government ; that 
no man is to be tolerated in the Church who is not a true 
Christian ; that none can be saved who retain any private 
property; that the pope and Luther were two false 
prophets, and (which, considering that they dated the 
origin of their principles to him, was the severest blow,) 
that Luther was the worst of the two ; that the marriages 
of those who were not of the number of the truly faithful, 
were impure and so many adulteries : these they taught, 
with many other absurdities and abominations. 

The anabaptists of Munster sent forth missionaries to 
preach this doctrine, and their success was great, while 
the enthusiasm with which they endured the penalties 
they incurred, when persecuted in the different towns 
in which they preached, as persons guilty of sedition, was 
worthy of a better cause. The protestant magistrates, 
though they had encouraged liberty of speech on religious 
subjects to a certain extent, had no idea of tolerating it in 
its extreme, and the anabaptist missionaries were soon 
seized, examined, and executed. But before they died, 
they did their friends in Munster irreparable, though un- 
intended, injury : through them it was discovered that the 
anabaptists of Munster were in great want of provisions 
and ammunition, and the seige was prosecuted with 

130 BECKET. 

greater vigour. Beccold meantime was not inactive : he 
sent two of his prophets into Holland, where the sect was 
numerous, to procure reinforcements and provisions ; but 
of these one betrayed him, another suffered death, and a 
third went to the camp of the beseigers to consult on the 
means of surrendering the city where famine was raging, 
and many had become disaffected. 

The landgrave of Hesse, in the mean time, had caused 
their book, "The Restitution," to be confuted; and Luther, 
who perceived how this outbreak of ultra-protestantism 
would injure his cause, and strengthen the hands of the 
Catholics, sent to the anabaptists of Munster " a sharp 
book," in which he compares them to Jews and Mahome- 
tans. Several other tracts were written on both sides, by 
protestants, but nothing was determined. 

At length the diet of Worms having granted fresh sup- 
plies to the bishop of Munster the city was takerj, and 
Beccold himself was dragged at a horse's tail from the 
scene of his royalty to a dungeon in the castle. He en- 
dured his sufferings and died with wonderful fortitude. 
The city was taken on the 24th of June, 1535. Very 
severe regulations were made against the anabaptists at 
the assembly of Hamburgh ; and the Lutherans, uniting 
with the Catholics in their opposition to this sect, it was 

entirely dispersed. Brand : Hist: Reform. Belgica. 

Dupin. Mosheim. 

Becket, Thomas a, was born in London, according to 
Fleury, in HIT, or, according to Dupin, in 1119. His 
father was Gilbert, one of the principal merchants of 
London ; his mother was Matilda, a Saracen, with whom 
his father had become acquainted, when, having joined 
the crusade, he had been made a prisoner in Palestine. 
She was a convert and a devoted Christian, who paid 
much attention to the religious training of her son. On 
the death of his mother, he was placed by his father under 
the care of the canons of Merton, and afterwards con- 
tinued his studies in the schools of the metropolis, of 

BECKET. 131 

Oxford, and of Paris. When his father died, he was 
admitted into the family of Theobald, archbishop of 
Canterbury, and conducted himself so well, that he 
easily obtained permission of his patron to leave England, 
that he might improve himself in the knowledge of the 
civil and canon law. He studied at Bologna, and at 
Auxerre, having, in the first named university, Gratian 
for his instructor. On his return to England, he found 
some difficulty in maintaining his position in the arch- 
bishop's household, as Roger de Ponte Episcopi (Bishop 's- 
bridge) a learned man, who was successively archdeacon 
of Canterbury and archbishop of York, had established an 
influence there, which was exerted against Becket, whose 
genius, however, surmounted every obstacle. Having 
received as his first preferment the church of Branfield, 
he soon after obtained prebends in the churches of 
Lincoln and St Paul's ; he was collated also to the 
provostship of Beverley, and on the elevation of Pioger to 
the see of York, he succeeded him in the archdeaconry of 
Canterbury, a preferment equal at that time to a bishopric 
in point of emolument, and scarcely inferior in the rank 
and influence it conferred upon its possessor. Becket was 
at this time only in deacon's orders ; but no law at that 
time existed to prevent deacons from holding such high 
offices in our venerable establishment, the duty of a 
prebendary and of an archdeacon being rather to see that 
the services of the church are duly performed, than to 
conduct them : it is the office of superintendent, who is 
to report irregularities to the bishop. 

On the removal of Pioger from the archbishop's 
Jiousehold, Becket became, young as he was, the con- 
fidential adviser of that prelate, and to his influence 
the public attributed the firm adhesion of Theobald to 
the cause of Matilda and Henry. This, doubtless, inclined 
Henry, when he ascended the throne, in 1154, to listen to 
the archbishop the more readily, when he recommended 
Becket to his notice ; and the splendid genius, together 
with the courtly manners of the archdeacon, soon con- 

132 BECKET. 

ciliated the royal friendship. Becket was raised to the 
high dignity of chancellor, and was admitted to the fullest 
confidence of the king, who felt for him as a personal 
friend. In a subordinate situation Becket always identified 
his own interests with that of his patrou, and devoted 
himself to his service, and the affection he evinced to his 
employer was returned to himself. This disposition is 
often found to exist in those who, when removed from a 
subordinate situation, are sturdy maintainers of their own 
privileges, and expect from others the homage they have 
themselves been accustomed to pay. 

The chancellor was appointed preceptor to the young 
prince and warden of the tower of London ; he received 
the custody of the castle of Berkhampstead, and the honor 
of Eye with the services of one hundred and forty knights. 
The pride of Henry was gratified with the ascendancy of 
his favourite, with whom he lived on terms of familiarity ; 
and the chancellor, who is described as remarkably hand- 
some, tall, but somewhat slight, and of a florid complexion, 
adorned the court as well by the elegance of his deportment 
as by the splendour of his talents. His equipage displayed 
the magnificence of a prince, and his table was open to 
every person who had business at court; a thousand 
knights were among his vassals, and every detail of his 
establishment indicated at once his splendour and good 
taste. He virtually governed the kingdom through the 
king. To him has been attributed every useful measure 
which distinguished the commencement of Henry's reign ; 
he banished the foreign banditti with whom Stephen had 
filled the land, he caused the ecclesiastical patronage to be 
honestly and judiciously exercised, without simony; and in 
the foreign department, by his successful negociations with 
the French king, he obtained for his master the cession of 
Gisors and five other important places. Various other 
important services he rendered to Henry and his country, 
for an account of which the reader is referred to the 
history of England. But one anecdote may here be men- 
tioned, to shew the skill and tact with which he managed 

BECKET. 132 

the impetuous temper of Henry. The bishop of Le Mans 
had given offence to the king by accepting Alexander III 
as pope without permission. The king in his rage ordered 
the bishop's house to be destroyed, and couriers for that 
purpose were dispatched, but before their departure the 
chancellor directed them to be four days on the road, 
though the ordinary rate of travelling w^ould have brought 
them to Le Mans in two. The next day, and the day 
after, he set the bishops and others to importune the 
king, and the third day he joined them himself; the king, 
supposing by this time that the episcopal palace must 
have been nearly destroyed-, at last yielded to their entrea- 
ties, and the chancellor got him to sign letters to that 
effect, and sent them off by a private messenger, who rode 
night and day, and arrived just after the king's courier, in 
time to save the palace. 

Becket w T as aware that he could not hope to influence 
the king and his warlike nobles, unless he proved him- 
self to be as brave in the field as he was wise in 
council. We hear, at the present time, of dignitaries 
in the Church who are seen to partake of the fashion- 
able amusements of a London life, and w T ho justify 
themselves, and are justified by others, though censured 
by those whom they call "righteous overmuch," on the 
ground that by sharing in the amusements of the great 
and wealthy, they exercise a useful control over society. 
The apology is sufficient so far as it goes, that is, so far as 
this, and not his own amusement, is the real object of the 
individual so acting. But if the apology is sufficient for 
the prelate in this day, w T ho attends or presides at the 
splendid and fashionable banquet, it is an apology which 
must be admitted in the case of the deacon Becket, 
when, with the same object in view, he placed himself at 
the head of 700 knights, and attended Henry in 1159, 
in the prosecution of his claims to Toulouse in the right 
of Eleanor, his queen : here he acted the part, not only 
of an able military commander, but also of an accomplished 


134 BECKET. 

man-at-arms ; for on one occasion he tilted with a French 
knight, whose horse he bore off as an honourable proof of 
his victory. On the same principle he became a judge of 
hawks and horses, and he must be pardoned, if, when he 
became a soldier and a sportsman, he occasionally entered 
too keenly into the chase, and forgot his ecclesiastical 
position in the enthusiasm of a warrior. He could be 
nothing by halves. 

That Becket thus acted is true, and it is true that by so 
doing he shocked, and justly, the feelings of the more 
religious among his contemporaries ; but that in throwing 
himself thus into the court and camp he acted, whether 
mistakingly or not, on the principle just adverted to, is 
apparent, from the fact that though he appeared to others 
to have forgotten his ecclesiastical character, it was never 
forgotten by himself. That his conduct had always defied 
the reproach of immorality, when living even in the 
atmosphere of an immoral court, and in intimacy with a 
king who attempted to corrupt him, was confidently 
asserted by his friends, and, as has been well observed, is 
equivalently acknowledged by the silence of his enemies. 
In private he resorted to the modes of self-discipline then 
customary: the chancellor was at one time discovered 
sleeping not on his bed, but on the bare boards exposed 
to the cold; and, according to Fitz-Stephen, "in the midst 
of his secular greatness and splendour, he used often to 
receive on his naked back the secret discipline of the 
scourge." By the same contemporary historian we are 
told,* that "amidst all the luxury of the court he preserved 
such perfect moderation that his rich table ever supplied 
a rich alms. I have heard from Robert, his confessor, the 
venerable canon of Merton, that while chancellor he never 
let luxury pollute him, though the king put snares in his 
way day and night." The indignation which he shewed 
at an act of profligacy in one of his suite is sufficient to 
shew that he feared no retaliation. 

The splendour of his equipage may be accounted for 

BECKET. 135 

as a necessary act of policy in that age, when external 
circumstances had much more weight than at present; 
although even now simplicity in the great is considered 
mean and offensive by vulgar minds. The effect which 
he intended to produce by his outward splendour may be 
gathered from the effect which upon one occasion it did 
produce. When he was sent by Henry to the court of 
France, to negociate with Louis, who had threatened to 
oppose the pretensions of the king to the earldom of 
Nantes, Becket, we are told, not only succeeded in his 
mission, but excited, by his magnificence and bearing, so 
much admiration, that the people exclaimed, " What 
manner of man must the king of England be, when his 
chancellor travels in such state.*' When such was the 
impression made by external magnificence, we must admit 
the wisdom and the sound policy of its assumption on the 
part of the chancellor. 

Such was Thomas a Becket, lord high chancellor of 
England, a man endeavouring to serve two masters ; or, 
perhaps, seeking to do his duty to the Church, in a secular 
employment, and thinking to advance the cause of God, 
not by simplicity of conduct and prayer, but by the arts of 
the politician. But the chancellor was soon to attain a 
higher office, and with it to present to the eye of the world 
an altered character. His first patron, Theobald, died, 
and the see of Canterbury became vacant. For thirteen 
months the politic Henry kept the see vacant, that the 
revenues might be paid into his exchequer. At the end 
of that time, when he could no longer with decency 
appropriate the revenues of the see, he sent for the chan- 
cellor at Falaise, and bade him prepare for a voyage to 
England, adding, that within a few days he would be 
archbishop of Canterbury. Henry had mistaken Becket's 
character. He regarded him as a mere worldling, who, 
provided his selfish interests were secured, would bind the 
English church to the will of the monarch. He had seen 
how the chancellor had controlled the lay nobility, and he 
expected him to exercise the same control over the Church 

136 BECKET. 

of England, and to render it subservient to his purposes. 
But, as we have seen, Becket was of that high class of 
mind, which, identifying itself with a cause, without 
rejecting the incidental advantages which niay accrue to 
it, would willingly for that cause sacrifice self and every 
selfish interest. He knew himself and Henry, and he 
forewarned the king of what would be the consequence of 
his accepting the present offer ; of the offence likely to be 
taken at the sudden elevation of one who had lived neither 
as a self-denying monk nor as a hard-working parish 
priest, but as a worldly-minded archdeacon, in a court not 
proverbial for its strictness. Pointing to his dress, he 
remarked with a smile, that he had not much the appear- 
ance of an archbishop ; and with that tenderness, which, 
notwithstanding the vehemence of his temper when pro- 
voked, was characteristic of his disposition, he alluded to 
the almost inevitable disruption of the friendship between 
himself and his royal master. As chancellor he might 
influence the royal mind to good, when measures against 
the Church were designed ; it would be his duty to 
remonstrate, not to oppose him ; but as archbishop he 
would have, he foresaw, openly to oppose one who could 
brook no opposition. " I know of a surety," he said, 
according to the statement of Hubert de Bascham, " that 
if by God's providence this should happen, you will soon 
take your heart from me, and the friendship which is now 
so strong between us, will be converted into the most 
furious hatred. I am aware that you are going to proceed 
to some exactions, and that you already invade the Church's 
rights in a manner I cannot tolerate ; and thus envious 
persons will go between us, and extinguish our attach- 
ment." From this it seems probable that he had already 
restrained the king in his designs against the Church, 
although, it may be, he did not always succeed in his 
attempt to do so. 

Thomas a Becket at last acquiesced, contrary to his 
own judgment ; the entreaties of cardinal Henry of Pisa, 
being added to the commands of the king, he sailed for 

BECKET. -137 

England. He was elected by the prelates, and a deputa- 
tion of the chapter of Canterbury, assembled at West- 
minster ; every vote was given in his favour ; the applause 
of the nobility testified their satisfaction, and prince 
Henry, in the name of his father, gave the royal assent. 
He was ordained priest on Trinity Sunday, 1162, by the 
bishop of Rochester, and on the following day was con- 
secrated by Henry, bishop of Winchester, assisted by 
thirteen of his episcopal brethren. Gilbert Foliot alone, 
then bishop of Hereford, and afterwards bishop of London, 
jeeringly observed, that the king had at last wrought a 
miracle, for he had changed a soldier into a priest, a 
layman into an archbishop. The advocates of Becket 
have regarded this as the sarcasm of disappointed ambi- 
tion ; but Foliot was a man of rigid morals, a devoted, 
laborious, and learned clergyman ; and therefore, without 
any ambition, he might fairly express his disgust at seeing 
a mere man of the world, without one religious or profes- 
sional recommendation, as Becket, at all events, appeared 
to be, elevated to a post of the most sacred importance, 
by worldly influence, and amidst the world's applause. 
Foliot never appreciated properly the character of Becket, 
and he retained his early and natural prejudices against 
him to the last ; but by his contemporaries Foliot was 
regarded as the holier man of the two. 

The good taste of Becket, to say nothing of his religious 
feelings, suggested an alteration in his establishment, 
w r hen he removed to his episcopal palace ; but there 
certainly did not take place that entire and sudden change 
in his habits, which has been spoken of by some historians, 
— and which even Lingard supposes to have occurred. 
His dress and his retinue, as Mr Froude remarks, were 
still remarkable for their magnificence, his table for its 
almost fastidious delicacy, his companions for their rank 
and intellectual accomplishments, his studies, for their 
political and philosophical, rather than their religious 
character ; and the only change discernible in his pursuits 

M '2 

138 BECKET. 

and manner of living, was such as the change of his rank 
and occupations would necessarily suggest to a refined 
taste. Two years after his consecration, we find his firm 
and tried friend, John of Salisbury, addressing to him the 
following letter : a letter which shews that he considered 
the archbishop to be very far from being a saiDt, though he 
certainly regarded him as a religious man. It is indeed re- 
markable how freely the companions and friends of Becket 
addressed him when he became archbishop. They seem 
to have looked upon him as one pre-eminently gifted, 
advanced to a high station in the Church, anxious to do 
his duty as a churchman, but often ignorant of what his 
duty was, and requiring guidance in a position so little in 
accordance with his previous habits. And he, conscious 
of his deficiencies, receives with a meekness not natural to 
him, and therefore the effect of divine grace, their friendly 
but free-spoken admonitions. John of Salisbury addresses 
the archbishop with the feelings of a paternal friend, who 
regarded Becket as ready to take the right political line 
with respect to the Church, but requiring direction as to 
his personal conduct. 

" My advice to your lordship," says this excellent man, 
" and my earnest wish, and the sum of my entreaties, is 
this ; that you commit yourself with your whole soul to 
the Lord and to your prayers. It is written in the 
Proverbs, ' the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the 
righteous runneth into it, and is safe.' In the mean time, 
to the best of your ability, put aside all other business ; 
other things are important and necessary ; but what I 
advise is still more important, because more necessary. 
The laws and the canons may profit much, but not for us 
under our present circumstances. Believe me, my lord, 
' non haec ista sibi tempus spectacula poscunt.' These 
things are better food for curiosity than for devotion. 
Your lordship recollects how it is written : « Let the 
priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the 
porch and the altar; and let them say, Spare thy people, 

BECKET. 139 

O Lord.' ■ I communed with my own heart,' saith the 
Prophet, ' and made diligent search' — ' in the day of my 
trouble I sought the Lord;' thus teaching us that to 
cleanse and discipline the spirit is the way to ward off the 
lash of conscience, and to obtain for us the loving mercies 
of God. 

" Who ever rose with a feeling of contrition from a 
study of the laws or even of the canons ? The exercises 
of the schools, too, are more likely to puff us up with the 
pride of science, than to kindle within us any feeling of 
devotion. I would far rather see your lordship's thoughts 
employed upon the psalms, or on the sermons of the 
blessed Gregory, than intent upon this philosophy of the 
schools. Far better were it to confer on serious subjects 
with some spiritual person, and to warm your feelings by 
his example, than to dwell upon and discuss the subtle 
controversies of secular literature. 

"God knows the sincerity with which I speak this — 
your lordship will receive it as seems good to you. Yet 
be assured that if you do these things, God will be on 
your side, and you need not fear what flesh can do unto 
you. He knows that in our present troubles, we have no 
mortal arm to depend upon." 

There were two parties at this time in the church of 
England ; a deeply religious party, at the head of which 
was Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, and a party which 
looked at the Church rather in its political than its 
religious bearing, at the head of which Becket now placed 
himself. In the latter party there were men of earnest 
piety, but their opponents, by representing them as mere 
men of the world, endeavoured to undermine their in- 
fluence. We know that it was thus that Becket was 
represented to the empress Matilda : she was made to 
believe that, " from the time of his consecration, the 
persons he had kept about him were men distinguished 
rather for rank and talent than for religion ; and that in 
disposing of his benefices, he looked rather to his own 

140 BECKET. 

service than God's ; promoting men of notoriously low 

He commenced his duties with his accustomed energy 
of character. In the spring of 1163 he attended the 
council of Tours, with several of his suffragans, and there 
he was received with marked attention : fifteen cardinals, 
with all the bishops who had arrived before him, went out 
to meet the primate of the church of England ; and when 
the council opened, he took his place with his suffragans, 
at the right hand of the pope. At this time there was a 
schism in the papacy, Alexander III being acknowledged 
by the kings of England and France, and his rival Octa- 
vian, under the name of Victor IV. being received by the 
emperor. The council was convened, among other things, 
to confirm the election of Alexander, who had, at his 
election, the votes of seventeen cardinals, his rival having 
only three votes. 

On the archbishop's return to England, he began to 
exert himself with great vigour, in defence of the rights 
and privileges of the church of Canterbury ; for, besides 
prosecuting at law several of the nobility and others, for 
lands alienated from the see, during the civil disturbances 
of the last reign, he claimed from the king himself the 
castle of Rochester, and the honours of Hythe and Sand- 
gate, which, he said, belonged peculiarly to the see of 
Canterbury. He moreover summoned Roger de Clare, to 
do him homage for the castle of Tunbridge, and sent a 
similar citation to William de Ross. Many more applica- 
tions of a like nature were made. The general answer 
was, that they held under the king, and owned no other 
lord. There is little doubt that the claims were just, but 
the nobility were alarmed, and the king was irritated. 

Although during the first twelve months after his 
consecration, the archbishop appeared to enjoy his wonted 
ascendancy over Henry, his enemies were many, and not 
inactive in insinuating suspicions of his conduct and 
designs into the irritable mind of the king. Becket, as 

BECKET. 141 

we have observed before, must have felt that although as 
chancellor he might either restrain the king, or else, as a 
friend, share in the odium, if, in spite of his attempt to 
restrain him, Henry persevered in an act of injustice, he 
could not act thus as archbishop : the archbishop would 
have to oppose each act of injustice, and if the act was 
persevered in, to let the world see that it was not con- 
nived at by him. He now therefore resigned the chan- 
cellorship. Henry remembered the warning which Becket 
had given him, and understood the resignation to mean 
that his interests might clash with those of the Church, 
in which case he was not to depend on the arch- 
bishop's support, and his angry feelings were excited. 
When Becket, after his resignation, first met the king, on 
his landing at Southampton, to quell the disturbances in 
Wales, it was remarked, that although they embraced, the 
eyes of the king were turned from him, and there was an 
evident coldness and restraint in his manner. As a fair 
act of retaliation, the king compelled the archbishop to re- 
sign the rich archdeaconry of Canterbury, which Becket had 
still retained, and which he certainly ought to have vacated 
before. It is said that the archbishop retained the arch- 
deaconry to prevent its being conferred on Geoffrey de 
Biddel, an unworthy person ; but when he was claiming 
all the rights of his see, the king was justified in prevent- 
ing him from assuming more than was his due, and from 
holding the rich archdeaconry in commendam. 

The hearts of the two friends were thus in fact alienated 
before that controversy commenced, which only terminated 
in the death of Becket. That which brought them into 
immediate collision, was a controversy relating to the 
jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts. 

The Church is an imperium in itself, governed under 
its Divine Head, by officers of its own, independent of all 
civil authorities. Such an institution must be viewed with 
suspicion and jealousy by the government of any country 
in which it is planted, an imperium in imperio. The 
provincial governors, under the first emperors of Rome, 


were perplexed and annoyed at finding in every city 
and province the Christian Church or the kingdom 
of Christ existing, with regularly constituted officers, 
holding concurrent jurisdiction with themselves, and con- 
vening provincial councils, in which laws were enacted 
without regard or reference to the civil authorities. The 
fear of excommunication from this spiritual kingdom was 
stronger than the fear of death. It is true that the people 
were instructed never to resist by force the government of 
the country, or the laws of the land : but then there was a 
passive resistance, which was more provoking. If a law 
pronounced by the Church or spiritual kingdom to be 
sinful, such as the worship of idols, were enforced, the 
people were instructed, not indeed to rise up in rebellion 
against the iniquitous law, but meekly to submit to the 
penalty for transgressing it, whether that were the spoiling 
of goods or the loss of life ; and by this mode of resistance, 
every persecution was perceived to add to the Church's 
strength. Wherever there was a Roman governor there 
was a bishop of the Church ; and if the commands of the 
one and the injunctions of the other were not coincident, 
the spiritual ruler, not the temporal, was obeyed, and the 
latter found bonds, imprisonment and death, to have no 
terrors. The imperial government, in consequence of 
this state of things, gradually ceased to persecute, and 
perceived the policy of allying itself as closely as possible 
with this new kingdom upon earth, this fifth empire. 
But the Church, strong in the affections of the common 
people, was, in this alliance, the more powerful body of 
the two, and the alliance was formed, not by bending the 
canons of the Church to the laws of the heathen empire, 
but by giving an ecclesiastical tone and character to the 
imperial laws. In the laws of the Roman empire, the 
power of the Church is perceived. 

But as time has gone on, the position of the two socie- 
ties has been materially changed. The Church has now 
become the weaker body ; the state has, in every country, 
and especially in England, obtained such power that it 

BECKET. 143 

has tyrannized over the Church, and to the laws of the land 
the ecclesiastical canons have given place. As the time 
of Anti-christ draws nearer we must expect the alienation 
of the state from the Church to increase ; perhaps persecu- 
tion will partially revive ; we know that when Anti-christ 
himself comes, persecution will be carried on so effect- 
ually, that the Church will be reduced to the lowest 
condition, in point both of influence and members. In 
the person of Anti-christ the state will triumph over the 

When such is our view of the destiny, as well as the 
history, of the Church, the struggle of Henry and Becket 
assumes a peculiar degree of interest, since it was the 
commencement of this straggle between the Church and 
the state. The relative position of the two bodies, which 
had so long acted together, and had almost become blended, 
was now imperceptibly changed. The king and the arch- 
bishop felt the change, but could not account for it. It 
was a change in the minds of men. Men had become 
discontented with the circumstances under which they 
were placed. In yielding to his own impetuous temper, 
Henry was, in fact, struggling to render the outward 
circumstances of his kingdom accordant with the changing 
tone of men's minds ; and in defending his own rights, 
and the authority of the Church, Becket resisted innova- 
tions, the end of which it was impossible to foresee. 

With Henry we find that those proud statesmen, who feel 
that the Church is the great impediment to the march of 
liberalism, entirely sympathize. Becket has not been 
able to command the sympathies of Englishmen, because, 
while we can applaud his noble defence of the Church's 
liberties against the aggressors of the state, we perceive 
that he was, through ignorance of the real state of the case, 
prepared to sacrifice those liberties to the court of Rome. 
If he asserted his independence as archbishop of Canter- 
bury against the king, we observe that he did not maintain 
his independence as a primate of all England against the 

144 BECKET. 

pope, but in his own person brought our church under the 
papal control. By the church of Rome he has been canon- 
ized : we may express astonishment at rinding Thomas a 
Becket regarded as a saint, a character in which he did 
not appear in the eyes of his contemporary partizans and 
admirers ; we may protest against his canonization for the 
mere fact of his having been murdered after conducting a 
struggle with the king, always with firmness and skill, but 
not always in a saintly temper. It is indeed admitted by an 
apologist for Thomas a Becket, the late Mr Froude, that 
the ardour with which he devoted himself to his noble enter- 
prise, was not altogether such as to consist with the very 
highest frame of mind ; there was an eagerness about it ; 
a fiery zeal ; a spirit of chivalry which excluded that calm 
unruffled quiescence which is the prerogative of faith — that 
entire indifference of consequences, which reason points 
out as the proper frame of mind for those who fight under 
the banner of the Invincible, who know that whether their 
efforts succeed or fail, His will is alike done. But if we 
may differ from the church of Rome in refusing to look 
upon Thomas a Becket as a saint, the truth of history 
obliges us to regard him as a great and good, though not a 
faultless, character ; as one who resolutely maintained a 
principle, and under difficult circumstances acted with 
consistency and an humble trust in Divine Providence, and 
who, as his troubles increased and his prospect of success 
diminished, became a better and a holier man. 

In the early part of the controversy, the consistency of 
Becket was, indeed, less apparent than in his management 
of it at a later period. Like many men of strong and 
determined character, his temper was kind and affectionate, 
and before he had confidence in himself, he was open to 
friendly influences, and in one or two instances yielded on 
points, where by yielding he offered an advantage to his 

When the Church, according to the statement made 
above, was independent of the state, Christians were ex- 

BECKET. 145 

horted, on scriptural principles, to settle their differences 
by submission to the decision of their bishops or of persons 
delegated by them, and not to go to law with one another 
before the profane courts. This was the case during the 
three first centuries. When the empire, by becoming 
Christian, allied itself with the Church, it was obliged as 
the weaker body, to respect the laws of the Church; and 
the decisions of the bishops in their respective dioceses 
had the effect of law, though it was left to the option of 
the people to have their causes tried either in the imperial 
or in the ecclesiastical court. But as the influence of the 
Church over the state increased, the privilege, if it were so 
esteemed, as to choosing the court in which they should be 
tried, was withdrawn from the clergy, and every cleric 
was amenable only to the ecclesiastical tribunal. There 
was a distinction drawn at first between ecclesiastical and 
civil offences, but long before the time of which we are 
speaking ; a clerical offender could only be cited before a 
spiritual judge. 

For a time this arrangement worked well : a person in- 
jured by a cleric obtained redress, and the Church was not 
scandalized by an exposure of the irregularities of those 
who had been devoted to the offices of religion. But the 
court Christian could not condemn any one to death, 
while sentence of death was pronounced upon offenders 
for comparatively trivial faults, by the civil judges. So 
long as excommunication was considered worse than death, 
the terrors of the spiritual court were equal to those of the 
civil tribunal. But religion was beginning to grow cold, 
and though excommunication subjected the penitent to 
the most awful civil penalties, there was always a feeling 
that he might be absolved, and people began to com- 
plain that equal measure of punishment was not dealt 
to the lay and the clerical offender. Flagellation, fines, 
imprisonment and degradation, subjecting the offender for 
the next offence to the sentence of the civil court, were 
the modes of punishment resorted to in the •' Courts 


Christian :" and solitary confinement in the cell of a 
convent, with inadequate food for life, was considered by 
the ecclesiastical judges a severe sentence ; but such was 
not the prevalent feeling among those who upheld the 
royal courts. 

By the two courts not only criminal but civil causes 
were tried ; and the ecclesiastical courts being conducted 
by men of superior education and learning, and being 
guided by the fixed and invariable principles of the civil 
and canon law, while the decisions in the king's courts 
depended upon precedents and written traditions, it was 
natural for men to draw into the ecclesiastical courts every 
cause which could by legal ingenuity be connected with 
the canons of the Church. So that between the two 
judicatures a rivalry existed, in which the king and his 
nobles felt a personal interest, as they obtained a principal" 
share of the fees, fines and forfeitures, of the courts with 
which they were connected. 

There was then on both sides much professional 
jealousy among the advocates of the respective courts; 
the bishops and dignitaries of the establishment were 
interested on the one side, the king and his nobles on the 
other ; and though the people were on the side of the 
Church, as in the Church only they found protection and 
sympathy, yet the reference to the comparative impunity 
of the clergy in criminal cases gave some strength to the 
royal cause. In criminal cases indeed, as well as in civil, 
the powers of the ecclesiastical court had extended to 
every individual who had been admitted to the ton- 
sure, (such persons as corresponded with our sextons, 
parish clerks, &c.) whether he afterwards received holy 
orders or not. But this extension of the ecclesiastical 
courts was the cause of their weakness in this contro- 
versy, for the number of offences was increased, and the 
difference in the mode of punishment more marked and 

The king had another point on his side. Although the 

BECKET. 147 

spiritual courts in all the continental countries had a 
separate jurisdiction, it had not been so among the Anglo- 
Saxons : the limits of the two judicatures, the civil and 
ecclesiastical, had been among them intermixed and un- 
defined. The bishop was accustomed to sit with the 
sheriff in the county court, and although even among 
them, the bishop was the sole judge of the clergy in 
criminal cases, and alone decided their differences, yet in 
many ways his ecclesiastical became blended with his secu- 
lar jurisdiction, and causes which had in other countries 
been reserved to the spiritual judge, were decided in Eng- 
land before a mixed tribunal. This state of things was 
altered by William the Conqueror, who separated the two 
jurisdictions, and established ecclesiastical courts in every 
diocese, under the bishop and his archdeacons. 

The reader will now see why Henry insisted so vehe- 
mently on the return to the " customs" or " usages" of 
the land, when making his attack on the ecclesiastical 
courts. He was, in all things relating to his feudal rights, 
prepared to follow the conqueror ; but he sought to over- 
throw this part of his system, and under pretence of 
referring to the old customs, to enlist on his side the 
feelings of the Anglo-Saxons, although his real object was 
the destruction of the present state of things, not the 
restoration of the Church to its former position. 

It will have been seen that the weak point in the case 
of the spiritual courts, related to their ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction, and on this point Henry determined to attack 
them. There had been some gross cases of clerical delin- 
quency, to which public attention was called, and by 
which the king had been violently irritated, as he conceived 
that sufficient punishment had not been awarded to the 
offenders. He summoned a council of bishops at West- 
minster, and required their consent that for the future, 
whenever a cleric should be degraded for a public crime, 
by the sentence of a spiritual judge, he should immedi- 
ately be delivered into the custody of a lay officer, to be 
punished by the sentence of a lay tribunal. The following 

148 BECKET. 

is the account of the proceedings of this council, given by 
a contemporary historian : 

" Concerning the origin of the misunderstanding be- 
tween his lordship the archbishop of Canterbury and his 
lordship the king — 

"Henry, king of England, duke of Normandy and 
Aquitain, and count of Anjou, came to London on the first 
day of October, in the year of the Incarnate Word, 1163, 
and with him Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, Roger, 
archbishop of York, and their lordships the other bishops 
of England. 

" This assembly met solely or principally to recognize 
the claims of the metropolitan of Canterbury to the 
primacy of all England. Nor was any opposition raised 
except on the part of the archbishop of York. 

" When this was settled, the king of England laid 
before their lordships, the bishops, certain harsh proposals 
for which no oue was prepared. In the first place he 
complained of iniquitous conduct on the part of the arch- 
deacons, who, as he said, made a profit of other men's 
misconduct, by exacting, in lieu of the accustomed penance, 
sums of money, which they appropriated to their own use, 
and declared his pleasure that for the future no arch- 
deacon should cite any offender, however notorious, without 
the consent of the civil magistrate. Then, proceeding to 
another point, he stated his anxiety to devise some means 
for the better preservation of peace and good order in his 
kingdom, and his regret at hearing instances of disorderly 
conduct among the clergy, several of whom were known to 
have been guilty of theft, rapine, and even murder. 

" ' It is my request, therefore,' said he, * that you, my 
lord of Canterbury, and your brother bishops, in cases 
like these, should degrade the criminal from his orders, 
and then deliver him up to my courts of justice for cor- 
poral punishment. It is also my will and request that on 
these occasions you should allow the presence of a crown 
officer, to prevent the escape of the criminal after his 
degradation.' " 


" His lordship of Canterbury wished to defer his answer 
till the following day ; but when this was denied, he 
retired with the other bishops, and the following discussion 
ensued : 

" The bishops mentioned that the world must obey the 
world's laws, — that degraded clergymen (clerics) must be 
given up to the civil magistrate, and suffer corporal 
punishment as well as spiritual ; nor could they see the 
injustice of thus doubly punishing persons who, as they 
enjoyed higher privileges than other men, when they 
abused these were doubly guilty. Nor was this only the 
world's law : the infliction of corporal punishment in such 
cases was sanctioned by Scripture itself, which sentenced 
offending Levites to mutilation or even death. 

" On the other hand, his lordship of Canterbury asserted 
that to visit a single offence with double punishment was 
alike unjust and uncanonical ; — that Scripture did not 
afford a precedent for it ; and that since the sentence 
pronounced in the first instance by the Church must either 
be just or unjust, unless the bishops would condemn 
themselves by calling it unjust, they could not admit an 
additional sentence to be just. 

" 'Moreover,' he added, 'we must be on our guard 
against lending ourselves to any designs upon the liberty 
of the Church ; for which, according to the example of our 
great High Priest, we are bound by our office to contend 
even unto death. But ye have not yet resisted unto 

" The bishops answered, that by sacrificing the liberty 
of the Church they in no way compromised the Church 
itself. 'Indeed,' said they, ' such a course would rather 
tend to strengthen it. An obstinate resistance on our 
part can end in nothing but our own ruin : whereas, by 
giving way to the king in this point we may retain our 
inheritance in God's sanctuary, and repose in the peace- 
able possession of our churches. We are placed in diffi- 
cult circumstances, and the temper of the times requires 
of us large concessions.' 

8 N 

150 BECKET. 

" On this his lordship of Canterbury, being very zealous 
for the house of God, spoke as follows : 

" 'I see, my lords, that you disguise to yourselves your 
cowardice under the name of patience, and that on this 
pretext of concession the spouse of Christ is to be given 
up to slavery. And who hath bewitched you, ye insen- 
sate prelates? Why would ye mask palpable iniquity 
under this virtuous name, concession ? Why do ye call 
that concession, which is, in fact, abandonment of the 
church of Christ ? Words, my lords, should be the signs 
of things, not their disguises. 

" ' But,' say your lordships, ' we must make concessions 
to the temper of the times.' Granted; but not vicious 
concessions to vicious temper. 

" ' My lords, the cause of God is not so ill supported, 
as to require your fall that it may stand. Nor is the Most 
High at a loss for means to uphold his Church, though 
unaided by the truckling policy of its governors. Truly 
one would suppose that your lordships compassionated 
our Lord Christ, as though he were of himself powerless 
to defend His spouse, and stood in need of your ingenious 

" ' Know, my lords, that this temper of the times is the 
very thing which constitutes your trial. When is it, I 
pray you, that a bishop is called on to expose himself to 
danger? Think ye that it is in tranquil times, or in dis- 
turbed ? Your lordships will surely blush to answer ' in 
tranquil times.' Remember, therefore, that when the 
Church is troubled, then it is that the shepherd of the 
Church must expose himself. Think not, that if the 
bishops of old times were called on to found the church 
of Christ on their blood, we in these times are less called 
on to shed ours in its defence. 

" ' I, for my part, (God is my witness,) do not dare to 
recede from that form of government which has been 
handed down to us from those holy fathers.' 

" These words of the archbishop were soon carried to 
the kings ears ; and straightway you might see all the 

BECKET. 151 

pillars of the Church to tremble as reeds before the wind ; 
nor did anything support them against the terrors with 
which they were threatened except the firmness of his 
lordship of Canterbury. 

" When the king found that in this instance his will 
was ineffectual, he immediately took different ground, and 
merely put to them the question, whether it was their 
intention to conform unreservedly to the usages of his 
kingdom ? His lordship of Canterbury answered advi- 
sedly, that he would conform to them without reserve as 
far as they consisted with the privileges of his order. The 
same question was then put to each singly, and the same 
answer returned by all. The king insisted that they 
should pledge themselves absolutely, without any excep- 
tion in favour of their order. But his lordship of Canter- 
bury refused to give further pledges, without authority 
from the vicar of Christ. 

" The king, therefore, was greatly troubled, and all 
Jerusalem with him ; and, going forth in the vehemence 
of his spirit, he departed at once from London, without 
arranging any business or closing any account. 

"On this you might perceive a murmuring among the 
laity, — confusion among the clergy. The bishops, in 
terror, followed after the king, fearing that before they 
reached him they should hear of a confiscation of all their 
goods, and soon after made an underhand arrangement 
with him, in which all mention was dropped both of God 
and their order. Indeed, so readily did they yield to his 
request, that their consent seemed to have been given 
even before it was asked, and those who had most influ- 
ence seemed most willing to exert it against the Church. 

"In the meantime the archbishop of Canterbury sat 
apart by himself, looking to the right and to the left, but 
there was no man that would know him. He sought 
comfort among his brethren, but they had gone astray 
backwards, and now they walked not with him. At length, 
seeing the prosperity of the unrighteous, and the danger 
that hung over himself, « One thing,' said he, ' I have 

152 BECKET. 

spoken, namely, that I will not conform to the usages of 
this world where they interfere with the privileges of my 
divine order. For this I have incurred the displeasure of 
the king — for this I have been deserted by my brethren, 
and have offended the whole world. But let the world 
say yea or nay, never will I so covenant with mortal man 
as to forget my covenant with God and my order. God 
willing, be it far from me, that either the fear or love of 
man should make me indifferent to God. If an angel 
from heaven come to me and counsel me so, let him be 
accursed.' " 

The king soon perceived that it would be the part of 
sound policy to form a party among the bishops, and to 
create a misunderstanding between them and the primate. 
He encouraged, therefore, the archbishop of York to insist 
on bearing his crosier in the province of Canterbury, and 
the bishop of London to refuse to profess canonical sub- 
jection. Clarenbald, abbot elect of St Augustine's, Can- 
terbury, had also withdrawn his monastery from the 
archiepiscopal jurisdiction, and when Becket insisted on 
his rights, these several parties appealed to the pope, and 
their respective claims were supported at Sens, where the 
pope then resided, with the king's money and influence. 
The cardinals were gained over ; the pope was frightened :. 
gloomy accounts arrived from John of Salisbury, from the 
bishop of Poictiers, and from Becket's private messengers. 
In short, the position of our church was at this time any 
thing but satisfactory; nor even when we admit the 
difficulties by which we are at present surrounded, by the 
opposition of the state to all true religion, can we think 
that our church was in better circumstances during the 
middle ages. We may here, also, remark, as we have 
done in former articles, how private interests and human 
passions were permitted to interfere, so as to bring the 
church of England more and more under the dominion of 
the pope. Henry, though hating the papal court, would 
submit to any concession, not interfering with his imme- 
diate objects, to carry a point, and Becket and his friends, 

BECKET. 153 

though free in their remarks on the venality, selfishness, 
and vrant of principle in the pope and his cardinals, 
conceded principles which entirely subverted the indepen- 
dence of the church of England. 

Becket had early notice that he ought not to expect 
support from the court of Rome, on which he vainly, and 
as archbishop of Canterbury, improperly relied. " God," 
says the bishop of Poictiers, in a letter addressed to the 
archbishop, " who has given you courage to begin, will 
also give you constancy to persevere, if not with success, 
yet with a consummation still more devoutly to be wished. 
But as to human assistance, you will look in vain to the 
court of Rome, for any support against the king." After 
recounting the difficulties to which Becket was exposed, 
the good bishop proceeds, " wherefore, my beloved father 
and lord, in all that you resolve upon, you must look 
solely to the will of God, and to the interests of that 
church over which God has appointed you. This must be 
your only consolation, your only hope." Becket's private 
messenger, one Magister Henricus, writes to him thus : 

" At Soissons, the king of France received myself and 
my charge with evident pleasure, and at once despatched 
the prior of St Mard of Soissons with letters to the pope. 
The prior is a man of great weight and discretion, and 
was charged with other matters respecting your lordship, 
more important than the kiDg could trust his secretary to 

" On taking my leave, his majesty took my hand in his 
own, and pledged himself, on the word of a king, that if 
chance ever brought your lordship to his dominions, he 
would receive you neither as a bishop nor an archbishop, 
but as a brother sovereign. The count of Soissons too 
assured me most solemnly, that he would consign to your 
lordship's use the whole revenues of his earldom, and that 
if I would return from Sens his way, he would send you a 
letter to that effect. 

" Having finished my business at Soissons I hastened 
to court, in the prior s company, through the estates of 

154 BECKET. 

count Henry. The way was shortest, and my companion 
was a guarantee for my safety. Two days before I had 
access to the pope's presence, the prior delivered the king's 
letters, and the commission with which he had been 
entrusted by word of mouth. 

" At length I was admitted. His holiness, on receiving 
me, sighed deeply, and betrayed other signs of dejection. 
He had already heard all that took place in the council, — 
the persecution of the Church, your lordship's firmness, 
which of the bishops stood by you, how he went out from 
among you who was not of you, the sentence passed upon 
the cleric ; indeed, every thing that had been done most 
secretly was known, before my arrival, to the whole court, 
and even talked of in the streets. A secret interview was 
then granted to me, in which I laid before his holiness 
the several heads of our memorial. He, on his part, 
praised G od without ceasing for vouchsafing to his Church 
such a shepherd. Indeed, the whole court loudly extols 
in your lordship that courage in which itself is so 
lamentably deficient. As for themselves, they are lost in 
imbecility, and fear God less than men. They have just 
heard of the capture of Radicofani, and in it of the pope's 
uncle and nephews. Other castles too, belonging to the 
fathers of certain cardinals, have surrendered to the 
Germans. Besides this, John de Cumin has now been a 
long time at the emperor's court, and count Henry absents 
himself from the pope's presence, and no messenger has 
of late arrived from the king of England, and other con- 
curring events have so terrified them that there is no 
prince whom they would now dare to offend, and least of 
all the king of England ; nor would they, if they could, 
raise a hand in defence of the Church which is now in 
danger in all parts of the world. But of this enough. 

" What has been the success of your lordship's peti- 
tions you will doubtless hear from the prior, and from 
the bishop of Poictiers, who, by the grace of God, 
arrived here the day before myself, and has laboured 
in your lordship's cause with most friendly zeal. His 

BECKET. 155 

holiness declines altogether to offend the king, and has 
written to the archbishop of York in a tone rather horta- 
tory than commanding. However, he will send over a 
brother of the temple to mediate between your lordships 
on the subject of the cross, and to settle any dispute that 
may arise in the interim. In the mean time the arch- 
bishop of York is not to carry the cross in your diocese ; 
this we obtained by dint of perseverance. To the bishop 
of London he has written in the same strain ; but the 
only effect of the letter will be to make his pride insolent. 
Indeed the pope feels this, and sends your lordship a copy 
of the letter, that you may judge for yourself whether to 
forward or retain it. As to the profession, his lordship of 
Poictiers has debated it with the pope repeatedly, and we 
have at last obtained a promise that if, on being demanded, 
it is formally refused, then his holiness will extort if. 
The bishop will explain this in his second letter: the 
subscription will distinguish the second from the first. 
In the matter of St Augustine's we can obtain nothing. 
The pope asserts that he has himself seen grants of his 
predecessors, which he cannot revoke, securing the privi- 
leges now claimed by the convent. 

" Lastly, on our requesting that his holiness would send 
your lordship a summons to appear before him, he an- 
swered with much apparent distress, ' God forbid ! rather 
may I end my days than see him leave England on such 
terms, and bereave his church at such a crisis.' 

" May God preserve your lordship in all your ways. 
At Clairvaux, Cisteaux, and Pontigni, by the pope's 
request, prayer is made daily for yourself and your church. 
May my lord inform me shortly how he fare, that my 
spirit may be consoled in the day of its visitation." 

In a similar strain wrote John of Salisbury, the arch- 
bishop's constant friend : having informed him of what 
was taking place at Paris, and then with reference to his 
intended journey to Sens, the papal residence, he says : 

"Yet what to do when I am there I scarcely see. 
Many things make against you and few for you. Great 

156 BECKET. 

men will be arriving there — profuse in their presents, 
against which Rome never was proof — backed not only by 
their own power, but by that of a king, whom no one in 
the court dares offend. Besides, they are protected by 
grants from the church of Rome, which, in a cause like 
this, neither regards bishop nor friend. In this very 
cause, his holiness has from the first opposed us — and 
ceases not to find fault with what was done for us by 
Adrian, that friend of the church of Canterbury, whose 
mother still lives among you, penancing herself with cold 
and hunger. 

" We then, humble and poor, and with no grants to 
protect us, what shall we have but words to offer to these 
Italians ? But they have well studied the lesson of their 
poet, ' not to pay a price for promises." 

" Your lordship writes, that, as a last step, if all other 
resources fail us, I am to promise 200 marks. But our 
adversaries, rather than lose their object, would pay down 
300 or 400. 

1 Nee si muneribus certes, concedet Iolas.' 

"And, truly, I will answer for the Italians, that in 
consideration of the love they bear his majesty, and of 
their respect for his messengers, they will consent rather 
to receive a great sum than to expect a small one. 

" And yet in some respects they side with your lordship, 
because you are troubled for the liberty of the Church ; 
though here too the king's apologists and your lordship's 
rivals endeavour to undermine your cause, attributing your 
conduct rather to rashness than to spirit; and to back 
their insinuations, they hold out hopes to the pope (venas 
hujus susurri jam audiit auris mea) that he will be 
invited to England, and that the coronation of the king's 
son is delayed till the apostolical hand can consecrate him 
— and your lordship must know the Italians have no 
objection. There are some who already insult us with the 
threat that his holiness will take possession of the church 
of. Canterbury, and remove your lordship's candlestick. 

BECKET. 157 

However, I do not believe that as yet such a thought has 
been conceived by his holiness, for I hear that he is really 
grateful for your constancy. 

" Yet one thing I am sure of, that when Lisieux is 
come, there is nothing which he will hesitate to assert. 
I know him well, and have tasted his wiles. As to the 
abbot, who can doubt about him ? 

11 1 have just learned from the bishop of Poictiers, that 
he can obtain nothing for you against the abbot of St 
Augustine's,' though he has laboured hard for it. I will 
go, however, God willing, since your lordship commands 
it, and will try what I can effect. If I fail, let it not be 
imputed to me ; for as the poet has said — 

' Ncm est in medico semper relevetur ut reger, 
Interdum docta plus valet arte malum.' " 

In the mean time, the pope had written Becket a 
common-place letter, dated Sens, Oct. 26, 1163, in which 
there is nothing worth notice except the concluding 
advice, "that Becket should at once return to his diocese, 
dismiss all his retinue except such as were absolutely 
necessary, and then move rapidly from place to place." 

He also wrote another letter to Gilbert, dated Sens, 
November 9th; just such as Becket's messenger des- 
cribes it — full of flattering expressions and gentle ad- 

When we add to all this, that the abbot of Eleemosyna 
was, as he represented, sent to England from the pope to 
press on Becket the inexpediency of persisting in a fruit- 
less opposition, we cannot be surprised at hearing that the 
archbishop was persuaded to go to the king at Woodstock, 
where he made promise of obedience to the customs with- 
out the obnoxious clause. By the king, of course, the 
humbled primate was graciously received, and a council 
was summoned to meet at Clarendon, to discuss the 
differences between Church and state. 

The council met at Clarendon on the 5th of January, 
1164. The king gave proof of his intention to humble 

VOL. II. o 

158 BECKET. 

the archbishop yet further, by appointing John of Oxford, 
a man most obnoxious to the archbishop, to preside, who, 
by his angry manner and threatening tone, chafed the 
temper of Becket, and excited his suspicions. Henry 
took his seat and called upon the bishops to fulfil their 
promise. The primate was now roused and expressed a 
design of receding from his engagement. At this Henry's 
rage was extreme ; in the eyes of the council it bore the 
appearance of phrenzy. He menaced banishment and 
death. Those bishops who had not yet forsaken the 
primate crowded around him and implored him to relent, 
as his person, the safety of the clergy, and their own lives, 
were at stake ; the door of the next apartment was thrown 
open, and discovered a body of knights with their gar- 
ments tucked up and their swords drawn Robert, earl 
of Leicester, and Reginald, earl of Cornwall, came to him 
and told him that the king had commanded them to use 
force if he did not yield to the royal will ; " though the 
event," they said, will, we know, " bring infamy on him 
and on ourselves." Sacrificing his own judgment to their 
entreaties, the primate relented ; he signified that he 
would obey the king's will, and promised, " on the word of 
truth, that he would observe the ancient customs of the 
realm." The bishops made the same solemn promise. 
But then came the question, What are the customs ? and 
strange to say, they were unknown. It was so preposterous 
to call upon the bishops to swear to observe customs, the 
very nature of which was unknown, that a committee was 
formed to draw them up, and at the suggestion of the 
archbishop the court adjourned till the following day. The 
meeting was resumed the next morning, and a list of 
customs was prepared. They are now styled the con- 
constitutions of Clarendon ; they are sixteen in number ; 
it will not be necessary to state them at length, but the 
following clauses are those which were most in controversy, 
and which were afterwards selected by Becket for special 

BECKET. 159 

1. " That no bishop may excommunicate any tenant of 
the crown without the king's license. 

2. " That no bishop may imprison any inhabitant of his 
diocese for perjury, or breach of faith. 

3. " That clerics shall be subjected to lay tribunals. 

4. " That laics, whether the king or others, may inter- 
fere in questions concerning tithes or presentations to 

5. "That appeals, for whatever causes, to the see of 
Borne, shall not be lawful, except with permission from 
the king, or his officers. 

6. " That no archbishop, nor bishop, nor any other 
dignitary, may attend a summons from the pope, without 
the king's license." 

The primate retired from this council an humbled and 
defeated man. He does not appear to have recovered his 
resolution immediately. On the first of March the pope 
certainly had under his consideration a request from the 
English clergy, to which Becket was a party, soliciting his 
assent to the acts of Clarendon. When Henry's ambas- 
sadors arrived at Sens to back this request, they found 
that the pope was for once prepared to act with resolution. 
Though on all former occasions he was afraid to support 
the archbishop against the king, yet he was now unwilling 
to take a decided part with the latter. Like other weak 
men, the pope seems to have determined on steering a 
middle course between the contending parties ; or rather 
on observing a strict neutrality, and allowing events to 
shape their course for themselves. But Becket had now 
time and opportunity to discover that if he persevered in 
his opposition to the king, he would not be without sup- 
port : that it was only through fear and policy that the 
pope and cardinals had refrained from declaring them- 
selves in his favour. He felt himself degraded : and his 
conscience reproached him for having acted contrary to 
his own judgment, in deference to the wishes of others. 
There were not wanting many among his friends to pity, 
if not to reproach him, for his weakness. On the first of 

160 BECKET. 

April, it was known at Sens that he had suspended him- 
self from all his clerical functions ; and on that day 
Alexander wrote to him a letter of consolation and remon- 
strance, assuring him that his fall had been a pardonable 
one, and his penance unnecessarily severe. Soon after, 
the pope sent the archbishop of Rouen to endeavour to 
effect a reconciliation between the king and Becket. But 
Henry would listen to no terms, unless the constitutions 
of Clarendon were confirmed by a papal bull. This con- 
dition being refused, Henry made a request that Roger, 
archbishop of York, should be made the pope's legate for 
all England: a direct attack upon the jurisdiction of 
Becket, to which Alexander refused to lend himself; 
though he showed his readiness to bend to circumstances 
almost as much as the enemies of the Church could 
desire, by offering to make the king himself his legate : an 
offer which was rejected, because it was clogged with a 
proviso that his highness should do nothing to the pre- 
judice of the archbishop of Canterbury; but the offer 
shews how ready the popes have been to sacrifice the 
principles of the Church to notions of expediency. Pressed 
beyond measure by the angry temper of the king; be- 
friended with a cold and vacillating support from the 
pope ; and deserted, day by day, by his former friends, 
who preferred the favour of the court to the service of an 
obnoxious prelate, Becket sought peace and safety in a 
retreat to France ; but even the crew of the vessel in 
which he sailed were not too obscure to trim their sails to 
the prevailing breeze of court favour ; and they earned 
the thanks of the king, by returning with the archbishop 
before they had reached the opposite shore. 

Henceforth the controversy assumes a new shape : the 
ruin of one man occupied the mind of the powerful 
sovereign ; and Becket regarded himself as representing 
the independence of the Church, and as called upon to 
exert all the energies of his mind in that cause. 

The king's conduct towards Becket was as mean as it 
was vindictive. He ceased from his attack upon the 

BECKET. 161 

Church to render more certain his attack upon the arch- 
bishop. In the October of 1164 the primate was cited to 
a great council in the town of Northampton, at which 
John of Oxford presided, and the king was prepared to 
prosecute his enemy, having decreed beforehand the 
punishment of bodily mutilation to any who should not 
bring in Becket as guilty of the charges he was about to 
prefer. The king proceeded from small to the greater 
charges, as by a climax. The nobles and prelates being 
seated, he charged the archbishop with not having done 
justice in his court of Canterbury, to John, the mareschal 
of his exchequer, and with not appearing in the king's 
court, when cited on the appeal of the said servant of the 
crown. The archbishop satisfactorily explained the case, 
and declared that his non-appearance when cited was no 
act of contempt, but occasioned by illness, and that two of 
his knights had waited on the court with his apology. Be- 
gardless of every plea, the king swore with an intemperate 
fury, that judgment should pass and justice be done 
him. The obsequious court yielded to the royal will, and 
condemned Becket as guilty of contumacy, for having 
disobeyed his liege lord, to whom he had sworn fealty 
and the observance of his earthly honour, and they decreed 
all his goods and chattels to be at the " mercy of the 
king :" a legal expression, to denote the forfeiture of all 
personal property, unless the king chose to accept a 
smaller fine. Custom had in each county fixed the 
amount of this fine : the customary fine in Kent was forty 
shillings, but Becket was made to commute the penalty 
for five hundred pounds, equal to more than seven thou- 
sand pounds of our money. The readiness with which 
Becket promised to pay the money and found sureties, as 
if not condescending to dispute with his sovereign about 
money, seems only to have exasperated the king. The 
next morning the king required him to refund three 
hundred pounds, which he had received as warden of 
Eye and Berkhampstead : " more than that sum," an- 


162 BECKET. 

swered the primate, " I expended on these castles and on 
the royal castle at London, as the repairs themselves do 
shew. But money shall be no ground oi quarrel between 
me and my sovereign. I will pay the sum." And he 
immediately gave security, thus in fact trampling over the 
royal spite. Another demand was made, in the hope of 
bringing the quarrel to bear on mere money transactions, 
of five hundred pounds, received by the chancellor before 
the walls of Toulouse. The archbishop asserted that the 
money was given, not lent. But as Henry maintained 
that it was a loan, the court decreed that repayment 
should be made, on the principle, that the word of the 
sovereign was preferable to the word of a subject ; the 
king's English subjects not having arrived at the conclusion 
of his foreign allies, that he was the greatest " liar ' in 
Christendom. Thomas a Becket shewed by his manner 
that he was not to be crushed or even irritated by such 
paltry proceedings, but on the third day he did stand 
aghast at hearing the king require an account of all the 
receipts from the vacant abbeys and bishoprics which had 
come into his hands during his chancellorship : and it 
was sufficiently apparent that Henry would respect neither 
law nor equity in his proceedings, when he estimated the 
balance due to the crown at the enormous sum of forty- four 
thousand marks. The archbishop declared that he was 
not bound to answer, for that at his consecration both 
prince Henry and the earl of Leicester, the justiciary, had 
publicly released him from all similar claims. It matters 
little whether Becket could have substantiated this asser- 
tion, for his recent elevation to the see of Canterbury, with 
the omission to place any such debts on record until it 
become convenient to do so in order that the prelate, since 
become obnoxious, might be crushed by their weight, was 
a sufficient moral release. He asked for leisure to con- 
sult with his fellow bishops. The request was complied 
with, and he withdrew with the bishops into a separate 

BECKET. 163 

It was evident that the king's intention in bringing the 
last charge against the archbishop was to force him to a 
resignation of his see. Indeed, so intricate and extensive 
must have been the accounts he demanded, and so uncer- 
tain the claim, that the reimbursement of any sum might 
have been required. The revenues of the see of Canter- 
bury were not equal to the discharge, and no sureties could 
be found. The bishops, with the exception of Henry of 
Winchester, advised a resignation. Besides the bishop of 
Winchester, the bishops of London, Lincoln, Chichester, 
and Exeter, addressed the archbishop ; the bishop of Wor- 
cester excited a smile in the assembly, when, with pompous 
self-complacency he said, " I wish to give no opinion ; 
because should I say that the cure of souls ought to be 
resigned when the prince wills it or threatens, I should 
speak against my own conscience, and belie my heart. If 
1 say the king should be opposed, there are those present 
who are devoted to him who will make their report. I 
shall be ranked in future with his enemies and be condem- 
ned. Therefore I waive all decision, and give no advice." 
The bishop of Worcester, though a weak and ignorant man, 
was nevertheless not wanting in worldly cunning, and 
Becket knew that he uttered what was felt by many around 
him, though they possessed the prudence, which the bishop 
of Worcester wanted, to conceal their feelings. He there- 
fore asked for a respite till the morrow, as those to whom 
his cause was best known were not with him, and his 
request was granted. 

The following day was Sunday, and the archbishop find- 
ing that the knights and others who till now had attended 
his person, came not near him, apprehensive of the fate 
which threatened him, ordered the poor of the neighbour- 
hood to be collected and seated at his table. " By these," 
he said " I shall obtain an easier victory, than by those 
who have shamefully deserted me in the hour of danger." 
But though nothing could intimidate him, the anxiety of 
his mind was proved by an indisposition which confined 
him to his chamber on the Monday. His spirit, however, 

i 04 BECKET. 

was roused by an intimation he received that if he appeared 
in court his destruction or imprisonment was resolved 
upon. On the Tuesday he rebuked the prelates who had 
again exhorted him to submit without reserve to the king's 
pleasure, and then proceeded to St Stephen's church, 
where he solemnized the Holy Eucharist, which he felt to 
be the most effectual support in the difficulties by which 
he was surrounded : nor did he neglect the especial com- 
fort of the service for the commemmoration of the proto- 
martyr in which the passage occurs, "The princes sat and 
spoke against me." 

He had now determined to bring back the controversy 
to its original state, a dispute between the king and the 
Church, and therefore he attended the council arrayed in 
his pontifical robes, and bearing in his hand the archi- 
episcopal cross, thereby signifying that it was not in his 
character as a subject, but in that of a prince of the 
Church, that he appeared before the council. As the 
king's object was to crush a subject, he was exasperated 
beyond bounds when he heard that Becket was thus 
approaching, and he retired with the barons into a neigh- 
bouring chamber, where they were soon after joined by 
the bishops. The king knew not how to proceed till some 
of the bishops proposed to cite their primate before the 
pope, and procure his deposition. The advice pleased 
the king, and " the arrogant and frothy" bishop of Chi- 
chester was commissioned to address the archbishop in 
the name of his brethren : " You were our primate," said 
he, " but by opposing the royal customs, you have broken 
your oath of fealty to the king; a perjured archbishop 
has no right to our obedience. From you, then, we 
appeal to the pope, and summon you to answer us before 
him." " I hear you," was the archbishop's reply. 

His proud spirit would not condescend to notice the 
attack further, but he was roused to speech, when the 
bishops, having gone over to the opposite seats, the door 
of the inner room opened, and the barons, with a great 
crowd, headed by the earls of Leicester and Cornwall, 

BECKET. 165 

approached the primate, who was addressed by the earl of 
Leicester : " The king orders that you appear before him 
to answer to his charges, as you promised, or else hear 
your sentence." "My sentence!" cried the primate, 
rising from his seat : " Yes, sir earl, but do you hear 
first ; — You well know, my son, with what friendship and 
with what fidelity I served my lord the king. On that 
account, it was his pleasure that I should be promoted to 
the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury, God knows, against 
my own will. For I knew my own incapacity ; and I 
acquiesced, not so much for the love of God, as for his 
love. This is sufficiently evident, since God to day 
withdraws Himself and the king from me. At my elec- 
tion, in the presence of prince Henry, who had received 
orders from his royal father, it was asked, in what condi- 
tion I was given to the Church ? when answer was made ; 
free and discharged from every bond of the court. But if 
free, I cannot now be bound to answer to those things, 
from which I was then discharged ; nor will I." " Tins," 
observed the earl, " is different from what, the other day, 
was reported to the king." The primate proceeded : " Still 
listen, my son. As much as the soul is superior to the 
body, by so much it is your duty to obey God and me, 
rather than an earthly monarch. Neither law, nor reason 
permits, that a child judge or condemn his parent. 
Wherefore, I decline the tribunal of the king and his 
barons, submitting myself, under God, to the judgment of 
our lord the pope, to whom, in the presence of you all, I 
now appeal. The church of Canterbury, my order and 
dignity, with all that pertains to them, I commit to God 
and the protection of the holy see. And you, my 
brethren and fellow-bishops, who have preferred the 
obedience of man to that of God, I cite you to the pre- 
sence of our lord the pope. Thus guarded by the power 
of the Catholic Church and the apostolic see, I retire 

The solemn address was taken to the king ; and the 
primate turned round to leave the hall. As he passed 


through the crowd he was insulted ; and some called out, 
that he retired like a perjured traitor. Looking sternly 
at the revilers, he said : " Did the sacredness of my 
character permit it, I would by arms defend myself 
against that charge of perjury and treason." The outer 
gate was locked ; but one of his attendants perceived the 
keys on the wall, and opening the door, they went out ; 
and amidst the acclamations of the clergy and people, 
congratulating him on his delivery, and a crowd of beggars, 
he reached the convent where he lodged. In the evening, 
the bishops of Worcester, Hereford, and Rochester, who 
were attached to the primate, waited on the king, in his 
name, requesting that he might be permitted to quit the 
realm. " To-morrow, replied Henry, " I will lay his 
request before the council." But at night-fall, two noble- 
men, whose solemn asseverations could not be doubted, 
informed the archbishop, that certain persons of high 
rank had conspired against his life, who were mutually 
pledged to perpetrate their design. This, it seems, deter- 
mined him to attempt an immediate escape ; wherefore, 
ordering a couch to be prepared in the church, as if he 
meant to take sanctuary there, before midnight, attended 
by two monks and a servant, he left the convent, and soon 
afterwards the walls of Northampton, passing northward 
through a gate which was left unguarded. It was Tues- 
day, the 16th of October. 

After fifteen days of peril and adventures, he landed at 
Gravelines, in Flanders. His first visit was paid to the 
king of France, who received him with marks of venera- 
tion ; his next to pope Alexander, who kept his court in 
the city of Sens. 

To the pope, all parties in our Church, king, prelates, 
and primate, had appealed ; all were doomed to discover, 
that by thus going into Egypt for help, they trusted only 
to a broken reed : but the damage which the church of 
England received from such proceedings, was such as 
rendered the reformation of the 16th century a matter 
of necessity. 

BECKET. 167 

Before the arrival of the archbishop at Sens, the king's 
ambassadors had appeared at the court of Alexander. The 
cardinals were aware how much it was their interest not 
to irritate so powerful and so rich a prince as Henry, and 
they saw the difficulties in which, by shewing favor to the 
primate, they would soon be involved. Already had part 
of the rich gifts which the ambassadors bore, been spread 
before them. The pope, though less inconsistent than the 
cardinals, still acted a disgraceful part in the transaction. 
As Mr Froude observes, " he neither insisted, as Becket 
wished, on trying the cause in his own presence, and 
summoning all parties from England ; nor, on the other 
hand, consented to place Becket again at the disposal of 
his enemies by ordering him to return to his see, and 
by sending legates to decide the cause in Henry's 

At this refusal Henry took deep offence. As a first 
step, he banished and proscribed all Becket's friends and 
relations with their whole families — sparing neither sex 
nor age — confiscating all their goods — and leaving them 
to find subsistence as they could in the charity of the 
continent. The list of proscriptions being swelled with 
four hundred names, the misery which ensued needs 
no description ; yet such was the popularity of Becket's 
cause, that this secured an asylum for the greater number 
of the exiles. Monasteries were cheerfully opened to the 
men, nunneries to the women; many nobles offered large 
contributions for their support — especially the king of 
France, and Matilda, queen of Sicily. This, however, 
could not last long — charity was fatigued, and generosity 
blunted, in time ; and before the six years of Becket's 
exile were concluded, hunger and cold had done its 

The arrival of Becket at Sens excited feelings of sym- 
pathy and compasssion, especially when, through ignor- 
ance of what became the primate of an independent 
Church, as high in office and dignity as the bishop of 
Rome, Becket offered to surrender his bishopric into the 

168 BECKET. 

hands of the latter prelate : some among the cardinals 
regarded this as a ready way to decide the dispute, and 
proposed that the resignation should be accepted ; but 
Alexander, who was not void of generous feelings, refused 
to abandon a prelate who had sacrificed the friendship of 
a king for the good, as he supposed, of the Church, but 
having previously condemned the ten constitutions of 
Clarendon, recommended him to the care of the abbot of 
Pontigny, and exhorted him to bear with resignation the 
hardships of exile. 

His residence at Pontigny was without doubt serviceable 
to Becket's soul. He, who had been hitherto immersed 
in politics or controversy, had now time for more profitable 
studies. By his contemporaries he was not regarded as a 
saint, — not even by those of his contemporaries who were 
most enthusiastically devoted to his service. John of 
Salisbury gives him the advice which we might expect 
from a man of learning and piety. 

"My advice then to your lordship, and my earnest wish, 
and the sum of my entreaties is this, that you will commit 
yourself with your whole soul to the Lord, and to your 
prayers. It is written in the proverbs, ' The name of the 
Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth unto it and 
is safe. — xviii. 10. In the mean time, to the best of your 
ability, put aside all other business : other things are indeed 
important and necessary ; but what I advise is still more 
important, because more necessary. The laws and the 
canons may profit much, but not for us under our present 

" Believe me, my lord, 

' Non heec ista sibi temp us spectacula poscit.' 
These tilings are better food for curiosity than for devotion. 
Your lordship recollects how it is written, that, in the sor- 
rows of the people, ' Let the priests, the ministers of the 
Lord, weep between the porch and the altar ; and let them 
say, Spare thy people, Lord! 1 ' I communed with my 
own heart,' saith the .prophet, ' and my spirit made dili- 
gent search.' 'In the day of my trouble I sought the 

BECKET. 169 

Lord.' Thus teaching us that to cleanse and discipline 
our spirit is the way to ward off the lash of conscience, and 
to obtain for us the loving mercies of God. Who ever 
arose with a feeling of contrition from the study either of 
the laws or even of the canons ? The exercises of the 
schools, too, are more likely to puff us up with the pride 
of science, than to kindle within us any feeling of devotion. 
I would far rather see your lordship's thoughts employ- 
ed upon the psalms, or on the sermons of the Blessed 
Gregory, than intent upon this philosophy of the schools. 
Far better were it to confer on serious subjects with some 
spiritual person, and to warm your feelings by his exam- 
ple, than to dwell upon and discuss the subtle controver- 
sies of secular literature. God knows the sincerity with 
which I speak this — your lordship will receive it as seems 
good to you. Yet be assured that if you do these things 
God will be on your side, and you need not fear what flesh 
can do unto you. He knows that in our present troubles 
we have no mortal arm to lean upon." 

It was long before Thomas a Becket could adapt him- 
self to his altered fortunes : we find his friend John of 
Poictiers remonstrating with him on the unnecessary and 
impolitic style of his living, and urging on him, at the same 
time, the necessity of husbanding his resources, and of 
conforming to the habits of the religious establishment in 
which he was at that time living as an exile. " It will be 
necessary," he says, " as far as one can judge from the 
present aspect of your affairs, to husband your resources 
in every possible way : to let your enemies see that you 
are prepared for any sufferings to which your exile may 
reduce you. For this reason I have often warned your 
discretion, and must still earnestly press you to get rid of 
your superfluous incumbrances, and to consider the bad- 
ness of the times, which promises you neither a speedy 
return nor a safe one. Your wisdom ought to know, that 
no one will think the less of you, if, in conformity to your 
circumstances, and in condescension to the religious house 
vol ir. p 

170 BECKET. 

which entertains you, you content yourself with a mode- 
rate establishment of horses and men, such as your neces- 
sities require." 

The archbishop had indeed from the beginning been 
sensible of his insufficiency for the high office to which he 
was called, but unlike the bishop of Worcester, to whom 
reference has before been made, and who was complacent 
in his ignorance, he endeavoured to prepare himself for 
his duties, by securing the assistance of Hubert de 
Boscham, to assist him in his theological reading. The 
following is Hubert's own account, as given in the Quadri- 
logue : " after early service he took a little sleep ; and 
then, before any of the rest were up, he would set to 
reading the sacred volume, with only one of his train by 
him, to assist him in unfolding its mysteries. He 
used to confess that the Scriptures were so deep and 
obscure in many places, that he was always afraid of 
falling into error, unless there was some one to direct him. 
And therefore, while on plain passages he would trust to 
what his own understanding told him, in the examination 
of difficulties he always took me for his guide. Yes ; he 
who had been so distinguished for deeds of prowess, and 
who, both as archbishop and in other respects, had risen 
to the very summit of excellence, yet trod the path of the 
Scriptures with this humble simplicity ; never outstepping 
his instructor, or presuming at all upon himself. Often 
in 'our journeys would he turn his horse out of the main 
road, and calling the same attendant to his side, discuss 
theological subjects while travelling ; every now and then 
repeating, ' How I wish I could retire a little from 
secular business, and pursue these subjects quietly and at 
my leisure.' " 

"Without doubt," wrote John of Salisbury, in the 
spring of 1166, " this exile has been of the greatest service 
to my lord of Canterbury, both in regard to his literary 
attainments and the" tone of his mind. I hope, too, it has 
not been lost on myself." In the summer of the same 

BECKET. 171 

year, writing to another friend, he remarks : " concerning 
the cause of my lord of Canterbury, I do not despair, for he 
himself hath hope in the Lord, penancing himself for the 
deeds he did as a courtier, nor as I think doth he make 
flesh his arm." And again, in the autumn following, 
"with regard to my lord of Canterbury, rest assured that 
what he has gained in moral and intellectual graces, far 
outweighs all that the king's malignity hath been able to 
deprive him of." 

It is pleasant in the midst of these controversies to read 
of this growth in grace, and to find that Becket could 
profit by the deep spirituality of his friends. And at the 
same time nothing is more offensive than the conduct of 
the pope, who always held out to him strong assurances of 
support, and as often as he stood in need of it, deserted 
him ; in the words of John of Salisbury, " he often 
preferred might to right, and tolerated as a statesman 
what he could never approve as a prelate :" the pope him- 
self admitted that he could not risk the loss of Peter's 
pence, by aiding Becket as he could wish : and the king 
at one time did not hesitate to tell the bishop of Worcester 
and the other bishops, that he had "his lordship the 
pope and all the cardinals in his purse." 

Henry knew how to play his game against the pope. 
We have already stated that an anti-pope was in existence, 
supported by the emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and at a 
diet held at Wurtzburg, ambassadors from Henry had 
appeared, among whom was the notorious John of Oxford. 
How far the ambassadors implicated Henry in the schism 
does not appear, but though they may have exceeded their 
instructions, they were evidently sent to Wurtzburg to 
alarm the pope, at a time when he seemed too much 
inclined to favour the cause of Becket. And from a 
correspondence between the pope and the bishops of the 
church of England, it appears that the end designed by 
the king was, to some extent, effected. But the undaunted 
primate addressed to the king admonitory letters, at first 
in a tone of deep respect and even of affection ; but after- 


wards, with such expressions of warning as could not 
be misinterpreted. Henry was alarmed by the tone of 
these letters ; knowing the archbishop to be a man not of 
words but of deeds, he perceived that unless he took the 
necessary precautions, his kingdom would soon be under 
an interdict, and himself excommunicated ; he held, there- 
fore, a conference with his barons and confidential friends 
at Chinon, in Touraine, when he behaved with extreme 
petulence, and declared, with groans and tears, that his 
barons were a pack of traitors, in not freeing him from a 
man who "tore his soul and body from him." He was 
rebuked with warmth, and yet gently, for his violence, by 
the archbishop of Rouen, while the politic Arnulph, bishop 
of Lisieux, suggested that the only measure which could 
avert the impending sentence, was an appeal in the 
name of the king to the pope. And Henry, who had 
commenced this controversy, by reference to those ancient 
customs of his kingdom, through which he desired to 
suppress the right of appeal, had now in his own defence 
recourse to it. Thus, on all sides, by king and prelates, 
as passion or self-interest swayed, were the liberties of the 
church of England sacrificed, and our venerable establish- 
ment bound with fetters to the papal chair. The bishops 
of Lisieux and Seez were despatched to notify the appeal 
to the primate. But they found him not at Pontigny. 

The apprehensions of the king were not unfounded : 
before his messengers arrived at Pontigny, Becket had 
gone to Soissons, and there underwent a process, marvel- 
lous according to modern notions, and shewing that 
although he had assumed the episcopal rule, he had not 
laid aside his martial and chivalrous feeling. He seems 
to have thought himself a spiritual champion, engaged in 
a kind of duel with Henry, and had gone to Soissons, there, 
as John of Salisbury expresses it, to gird himself against 
the day of battle. Thither he went to commend himself 
especially to St Drausius, to whom, as the said John of 
Salisbury remarks, " men resort before a duel, and who, 
according to the belief in France and Loraine, imparts the 

BECKET. 173 

certainty of victory to all who watch a night before his 
shrine. " The Burgundians too, and even the Italians," 
he adds, "fly to him for succour before they hazard any 
perilous eu counter. Here it was that Robert de Montfort 
watched before his combat with Henry of Essex." It 
ought to be observed that a duel was at this time one of 
the legal modes of settling a dispute, and was conducted 
strictly according to the forms of law. When two cham- 
pions fought it was believed that God would defend the 
right. But it is curious to find Becket giving in to this 
superstition, not because we should expect him to be in 
advance of the tradition of his age, but because it shews 
the temper of his mind at the time. He was fighting, as 
he supposed, like a knight, in defence of the Church, and 
carried into the combat the generous ' and disinterested 
feelings of true chivalry. This throws an interest into 
his character ; but it is not the character of a saint, 
such as the church of Rome does, and the church of 
England does not, regard him. 

Three nights, in the true spirit of chivalry, did he 
watch before the altars, and then returned, full of holy 
ardour, and armed for the battle. It was in the church 
at Vezelay, on Whitsunday, that he intended to pronounce 
his sentence of excommunication ; but two days before, a 
messenger from the king of France informed him that 
Henry was dangerously ill. He thought it proper, there- 
fore, to defer the sentence as it regarded the king. But 
with respect to others he proceeded to act. 

On the morning of the festival, amidst an immense 
concourse of people, the archbishop ascended the pulpit 
and preached. At the close of the sermon a solemn pause 
ensued ; the torches were extinguished ; the bells tolled ; 
the crosses were inverted, and he pronounced his anathe- 
mas. He cut off from the society of the faithful, John of 
Oxford, who had communicated with the anti-pope ; those 
of the royal ministers who had framed the constitutions 
of Clarendon ; and all who had invaded the property of 

p -4 

174 BECKET. 

the Church. The constitutions of Clarendon he read, 
and six of them, as given above, he condemned. He 
named the king, mentioned the letters he had written to 
him, and now publicly called upon him to repent, and 
to make satisfaction for the injuries he had done to the 
Church, declaring that if he persisted in his sin, the 
sentence they had heard pronounced against others should 
speedily fall on his own head. 

Becket returned in haste to Pontigny, whence he wrote to 
his suffragans in England, and to Alexander, stating what 
he had done. The pope was at this time inclined to support 
him. Henry was naturally alarmed, lest this should only 
be the first step towards laying his kingdom under an 
interdict, when all the offices of the Church would be 
suspended, and he himself be rendered liable to attack from 
any enemy who might think fit to assail him. He there- 
fore sent orders into England, that all communication 
with the archbishop, under the severest penalty, should 
cease ; that the ports should be diligently watched, and 
that the prelates of his realm, directly in the teeth of the 
constitutions of Clarendon, should renew their appeals to 
the pope. The prelates appealed, and an angry corres- 
pondence ensued between them, especially Gilbert Foliot, 
bishop of London, their leader, and the primate. The 
latter, as usual, received encouragement and advice from 
the excellent John of Salisbury, who seems to have treated 
him as his child. " Some," he said, " will disapprove of 
the rashness of thus exposing your life to your enemy's 
swords, and will call it wiser to defer the danger till more 
thorough repentance has fitted you for martyrdom, I answer, 
no one is unfit but the unwilling. Young be he or old, 
jew or gentile, christian or infidel, man or woman, it 
matters not. Whoever suffers for justice is a martyr, i. e. 
a witness of truth, an asserter of Christ's cause." His 
rhetoric, in alluding to an infidel, detracts from the effect 
of this sentence. In advising Becket further, he exhorts 
him to meet the archbishop of Rouen, who gave out that 

BECKET. 175 

all his actions proceeded from pride and anger, " with a 
studied display of moderation in all your words and 
actions, as ivell as your dress and deportment. And yet this 
will be of little avail in the sight of God, unless it proceeds 
from the inner secrets of your conscience." " But more 
than all," he says in another part of his letter, " be dili- 
gent in prayer and the other exercises of Christian 
warfare." " I think, too, that you have the Spirit of God. 
For he who gave you zeal when your deserts were little, 
will not refuse you wisdom now you deserve it and are in 
this emergency. I advise you then, as an old father and 
master" (Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury,) "used to 
say to you, ' not to hide in your boot what God inspires 
into your heart,' nor to prefer the counsels of less wakeful 
and sincere advisers." Of the English bishops, John of 
Salisbury says, " some had married wives, and were ener- 
vated ; others had bought yokes of oxen ; others had been 
heaping up riches, not telling who should gather them ; 
all were engrossed in pleasures of one sort or another ; 
and therefore they chose, I say, to have their ears bored 
with an awl, and to mark themselves as bondmen for ever 
to the iniquitous Customs, rather than be elevated to 
spiritual liberty." This is the sentence of a partizan, for 
some of the bishops of the church of England, and Gilbert 
Foliot, their leader, were men of a highly spiritual class of 
mind, who disliked Becket from the beginning, because 
they regarded him as a mere polemic. 

Things now for a little time went on prosperously with 
Becket ; his public acts were in the course of the summer 
confirmed by the pope, who ratified his suspension of the 
bishop of Salisbury for admitting John of Oxford to the 
deanery of his church, and the excommunications of 
Vezelay. Towards the end of September, the pope issued 
a mandate for restoring to the exiled party the benefices 
and the proceeds from them, of which they had been 
unjustly deprived ; and, what was perhaps the most im- 
portant step of all, as indicating his favourable feeling 
towards the archbishop, he now conferred on him the 

176 BECKET. 

appointment of legate, which had been his intention for 
some time back. The cause of the king seemed thus to 
be in a most unprosperous condition, when for a while it 
was restored to better hopes, by the success which attended 
an embassy to Rome, not so much with a view of prose- 
cuting the appeal, as to sooth the pontiff, who was at 
this time in great need of money, to bribe the cardinals, 
and to procure the appointment of two legates from the 
papal court. At the head of this embassy was John of 
Oxford, who had suggested the expedient ; a man noto- 
rious as one who was at all times ready to swear and to 
forswear himself, and who was known by the name of John 
the swearer. It was a bold step to send him, as he was 
excommunicated and denounced at Rome, and was an 
enemy of Alexander as well as of the primate, having had 
communications with the anti-pope. But the appointment 
was in a worldly sense a wise one. The gold of his master 
he largely distributed with both hands, and but few of 
" the sacred college" refused it. The cardinals espoused 
his cause. He was ready to make every concession. He 
was himself absolved from excommunication; resigning 
the deanery of Salisbury into the hands of the pope, he 
was by the pope reinstated in it ; and declaring that " the 
difference between the king and the archbishop might be 
accommodated were there an honest man to mediate," he 
obtained a promise that legates should be sent. 

Henry had recourse to conduct as mean as it was 
vindictive against the archbishop, for, seeing the undis- 
turbed life he was leading at Pontigny, a monastery of 
the Cistercian order, he signified to the chapter that if 
they harboured his enemy much longer, he should confis- 
cate their property in England. The monks of Pontigny 
were perplexed, but Becket saved them from their per- 
plexities by removing to Sens, where he was gladly received 
by the bishop and people, and lived under the protection 
of the king of France. At Sens he contrived to reside 
throughout the remainder of his exile. 

Nothing could exceed the astonishment of the primate 

BECKET. 177 

and his friends, when the humiliating news reached them 
of the appointment of the legates. Becket wrote letters ex- 
pressive of the strongest indignation, censuring the weak 
pliancy of Alexander and the venality of "the sacred college." 
" If reports be true," wrote Becket to a friend, "he has not 
only choked and strangled me, but himself, all ecclesias- 
tics, and the two churches of England and France." 
Henry was in proportion elated; " I have the pope," he 
said, " and cardinals in my purse, nor need you fear any 
of their threats," and he then told his courtiers what 
cardinals had taken money, and by what means they had 
been bribed. He forgot to add, that to cany his point he 
had conceded the object in dispute, and that John of 
Oxford had submitted the constitutions of Clarendon to 
the judgment of the pope ; for by this concession he never 
intended to abide. On the other hand, Louis, who was 
true to the archbishop, and not less indignant, declared 
that the legates should not pass through his kingdom. 
" Had he sent them," he exclaimed, " to take the crown 
from my head, I should not have been more troubled." 
And the friends of the archbishop had more reason to 
feel indignant, when they found placed at the head of the 
legatine commission William of Pavia, who was hostile to 
Becket, and who openly declared his predetermination to 
decide in favour of the king, and on whom it was reported 
that the see of Canterbury would be conferred if Becket 
were deposed. The other legate was cardinal Otho, of 
St Nicholas, with whom Becket was less dissatisfied, 
though he too was known to be favourable to the king. 

But the vacillating and time-serving Alexander was 
alarmed by the indignation with which his proposed mea- 
sure had been regarded by the French king, and he 
actually nullified the whole proceeding, by commanding 
his legates not to enter Henry's dominions, or to take any 
decided steps, till the archbishop was reconciled to the 
king ; so that the legates, granted as a boon to Henry, 
were restrained from acting, in order to conciliate Louis, 
till Becket might think fit to give authority to their pro- 

178 BECKET. 

ceedings. In writing to Louis, after eulogizing the 
archbishop, and requesting him to use his good offices to 
promote reconciliation, he adds, " But should our efforts 
fail, might it be agreeable to you, and not offensive to the 
dignitaries of your realm, I should be happy to appoint 
the archbishop my legate in the kingdom of France. Let 
this be secret." 

William of Pavia wrote a haughty letter to Becket with 
reference to the legation, and Becket prepared first one 
and then another letter in reply, full of indignation and 
sarcasm, the first of which, certainly, and the second of 
which, probably, he laid aside without sending, on the 
advice of his faithful and fearless adviser and friend, John 
of Salisbury, who, with reference to the first of Becket's 
letters, honestly says : " I have read the letter which your 
lordship means to send lord William : and though I will not 
pass sentence on the writer, I certainly cannot approve 
the style. To my mind it is deficient in humility, and 
not quite consistent with the command, ' let your modera- 
tion be known to all, the Lord is at hand.' If your 
lordship's letter and his are compared clause by clause, 
the answer seems conceived in a spirit of bitterness, very 
foreign to the sincerity of Christian love." 

Softened by the admonitions of his friend, for the high- 
spirited archbishop seemed always ready to bend before 
the rebukes of one whom he felt to be his superior in 
godliness as well as in learning, Becket obtained a pass- 
port for the legates for their journey through France, 
which, except for his interposition Louis would not have 
granted, and for obtaining which he received a letter of 
thanks from cardinal Otho. 

The legates, on arriving in Normandy, had an interview 
with the king, and they appointed a day for conference 
with the archbishop. On the 18th of November, 1167, 
the conference took place between Gisors and Trie. The 
legates sought by every means to bend if possible the 
firmness of Becket, and recommended to him moderation 
and humility. The king and his party made bitter com- 

BECKET. 179 

plaints of his ingratitude, and charged him with exciting 
war between England and France and Flanders. Becket 
defended himself against all the charges brought against 
him, and as to the humility and deference which they re- 
commended, he declared himself most anxious to exhibit 
it in every way, saving only the honor of God, the 
liberty of the Church, and the dignity of his own station. 
If this seemed too little or too much, or in any way dif- 
ferent from their view, he was ready to make any com- 
pliance, consistent with his oaths, and saving his order. 
As to the charge of having caused war between the kings 
of England and France, the king of France assured the 
legates upon oath, that the primate had counselled peace, 
on such terms as should secure the honor of the two kings 
and the tranquillity of the people. 

Henry had consented to some trifling modification of 
the constitutions of Clarendon, and in the strerjgth. of this 
the legates endeavoured to persuade Becket to comply in 
all things to the king's wishes ; on the archbishop's refus- 
ing to do this, as the alteration made no essential differ- 
ence in the state of the case, the legates had nothing else 
to do but to return to the king to report progress. They 
found the king at Argentan. What passed at their 
audience is not known; but, in about two hours, they 
came out and the king walked with the legates to an outer 
door: "May my eyes never look on a cardinal again!" 
was his angry exclamation as they turned from him. The 
legates, however, had another interview with the king, 
and shewed the spirit with which they had entered on 
their task, by sending to the pope partial statements of the 
position of affairs, and of the conduct of either party, 
which told against the archbishop, and which were of 
course seconded by the efforts of the envoys of Henry at 
the court of Rome. In order to obtain time and prevent 
the archbishop from placing the kingdom under an inter- 
dict, a fresh appeal was instituted to the see of Rome. 

Various controversies on points of minor interest 
occurred in the year 1168 between the legates and the 

180 BECKET. 

archbishop. Their unfriendly influence and partial acts 
were met with a promptness and vigilance by Becket, 
which must have rendered their legantine a complete 
failure in the estimation of the king, when the king's 
envoys unexpectedly returned from Koine with letters from 
the pope, signifying that the archbishop had been sus- 
pended, that is, forbidden all exercise of his spiritual 
powers, till such time as it should please the king to be 
reconciled to him. The archbishop and his friends were 
astounded. The effect that this measure had upon the 
king is described by John of Salisbury in a letter to 

'* The king soon made it evident how he had triumphed 
over his lordship the pope, and over the church of Rome ; 
and to hold up his lordship of Canterbury and his fol- 
lowers, as a scorn of men and an outcast of the people, 
he caused transcripts to be made of certain letters from 
his lordship the pope, licensing him to sin in impunity, 
and forwarded them to all the churches and dignitaries of 
each kingdom. He boasted, too, that he had in the court 
such friends as rendered all the attempts of the arch- 
bishop of Canterbury ineffectual; friends so active in his 
interest, that the archbishop could make no petition or 
demand, of which he did not receive immediate notice. 
We know the names of those whose services he makes use 
of, and through whose influence in the court, the cause of 
God and of Christ's little ones, has been thus sold for 
nought. (For the multitude was not in their counsels.) 
Would that those ounces of gold had never been, through 
which, those who ought to have been the pillars of the 
Church were excited to cause its fall. So elated was the 
king with this his triumph, that in his own family he 
he could not refrain from naming those of the cardinals 
who had accepted his pestilential gold, and those who 
were his agents, in dispensing to some more to some less, 
according to the zeal they had shown in subverting 

"When we were at Montmirail, the king of France 

BECKET. 181 

learned that a messenger from his lordship, John of 
Naples, had gone over from his camp to the king of 
England, and the other persecutors of the Church. 

" The religious who take part with the king of England, 
when they heard the aforesaid letters, were sad beyond 
measure, and uttered imprecations against John of Naples, 
and John of St John and St Paul, who were said to have 
seduced his lordship the pope. M. Geoffrey, of Poictiers, 
a cleric of my lord cardinal William, did not consent to 
the counsel and practices of the king's ambassadors, (for 
he himself too is waiting for the kingdom of God) but 
openly protested, ' that they had perjured themselves, 
and incurred an anathema ; ' inasmuch as they had sworn 
that the pope's mandate should be kept secret, and that 
his holiness had commanded them so to keep it, in virtue 
of their obedience, and under peril of an anathema: 
whereas they, to render us contemptible and our friends 
disconsolate, herald forth with their king the triumphs 
of their own wickedness, glorying in the confusion of the 

" Would that my lord cardinals were within hearing of 
the French ; among whom it has become a proverb, that 
the princes of the Church are faithless, and companions of 
thieves, ' Ecclesiae principes inrideles, socii furum;' for 
that they authorise the plunder of Christ's patrimony, to 
share in it. Would that you likewise could hear his most 
christian majesty, who, as I fear, is now irrevocably deter- 
mined, at the solicitation of the emperor, to contract a 
marriage between their children. Earl Henry is urging 
this, and entertains great hopes of succeeding. 

"And now I entreat you, use your influence with his 
lordship the pope, urging him to act the part of a judge. 
Let him absolve the innocent who is bound without cause, 
and condemn the impious who is now displaying to the 
whole world his prowess as a persecutor. Endeavour also 
to procure an injunction against the archbishop of York, 
that he may be compelled to show deference and subjection 
to the suffering Church of Canterbury." 

VOL. II. q 

182 BECKET. 

The conduct of the pope was still as inconsistent as it 
had been all along : although he thus gave a triumph to 
Henry, he still feared to provoke Becket beyond endurance ; 
and while writing to the bishops of our church admitting 
their appeal, he censured them severely for their disobedi- 
ence to their metropolitan. But the most extraordinary 
thing was that in writing to Becket to console him, he 
mentioned a little fact of a very consolatory nature which 
by artifice or accident he had forgotten to mention to 
Henry, namely that the suspension was only to last till 
Lent. Becket did not fail to express his feelings of indig- 
nation to the pope, to whom, in ignorance of his rights 
as an independent archbishop, he had yielded already 
too much. The following extracts from the archbishop's 
letter will show the state of his feelings : 

" Holy father, it is an easy matter to suspend the 
powers of our office, but not so easy to arrest the right 
arm of our God, which is now bowing the heads of tyrants. 
Your faithful ones fear much, that, while you wait better 
times for the execution of justice, the best may slip away 
from you. Our enemies are now in a strait. He who 
terrifies is himself more terrified. ' Be comforted,' saith 
the Lord, ' and be strong, and fear not their faces, for I 
am with thee.' 

" O, my father, my soul is in bitterness ; the letters in 
which your holiness was pleased to suspend me, have 
made myself and my unhappy fellow-exiles, a very scorn 
of men and outcast of the people ; and what grieves me 
worse, have delivered up God's Church to the will of its 

" Our persecutor had held out sure hopes to the earl of 
Flanders, and others of the French nobility, that he meant 
to make peace with us. But his messengers arrived with 
their new powers from your holiness, and all was at an 

" What could our friends do for us when thus repulsed 
by your holiness's act, and smitten down as with the club 
of Hercules ? 

BECKET. 183 

'• Would that your holiness's ears could hear what is said 
of this matter by the bishops, nobles, and commons of 
both realms ; and that your eye could see the scandal 
with which it has filled the French court. 

" But your holiness counsels me to bear with patience 
the meanwhile 

" And do you not observe, father, what this mean- 
while may bring about, to the injury of the Church and 
of your holiness's reputation? 

" Meanwhile, he applies to his own purposes the reve- 
nues of the vacant abbeys and bishoprics, and will not 
suffer pastors to be ordained there : meanwhile, he riots 
in uncontrolled insolence against the parishes, churches, 
holy places, and the whole sacred order : meanwhile, he 
and the other persecutors of the Church, make their will 
their law : meanwhile, who is to take charge of the sheep 
of Christ, and save them from the jaws of wolves, who no 
longer prowl around, but have entered the fold, and devour, 
and tear, and slay, with none to resist them ? For what 
pastor is there whose voice you have not silenced ? what 
bishop have you not suspended in suspending me ? 

" This act of your holiness's is alike unexampled and 
unmerited, and will do the work of tyrants in other days 
as well as yours. Your holiness has set an example ready 
to their hands ; and doubtless this man and his posterity, 
unless your holiness take steps to order otherwise, will 
draw it into a precedent. He and his nobles, whatever 
be their crime, will claim among the privileges of the 
realm, exemption from any sentence of excommunication 
or interdict, till authorized by the apostolic see ; then in 
time, when the evil has taken root, neither will the chief 
priest of Rome himself find any in the whole kingdom, to 
take part with him against the king and his princes. 

" And yet I doubt not that this struggle for the Church's 
liberty would long ago have been brought to a close, unless 
his wilfulness, not to use a harsher term, had found 
patrons in the church of Rome. God requite them as is 
best for His Church and for themselves. The Almighty 

184 BECEET. 

all-just Lord God judge between me and them. Little 
should I have needed their patronage, if I had chosen to 
forsake the Church, and yield to his wilfulness myself. I 
might have flourished in wealth and abundance of deli- 
cacies ; I might have been feared, courted, honoured, and 
might have provided for my own in luxury and worldly 
glory, as I pleased. But because God called me to the 
government of His Church, an unworthy sinner as I was, 
and most wretched, though flourishing in the world's goods 
beyond all my countrymen, through His grace preventing 
and assisting me, I chose rather to be an outcast from the 
palace, to be exiled, proscribed, and to finish my life in the 
last wretchedness, than to sell the Church's liberty, and 
to prefer the iniquitous traditions of men, to the law 
of God. 

" Such a course be for those who promise themselves 
many days, and in the consciousness of their deserts, ex- 
pect better times. For myself, I know that my own days 
are few ; and that unless I declare to the wicked man his 
ways, his blood will shortly be required at my hands, by 
One from whom no patronage can protect me. 

• There silver and gold will be profitless, and gifts that 
blind the eyes of wise ones. 

■• We shall soon stand all of us before the tribunal of 
Christ, and by His majesty and terrible judgment I con- 
jure your holiness, as my father and lord, and as the 
supreme judge on earth, to render justice to His Church, 
and to myself, against those who seek my life to take it 

While Becket was remonstrating, anl the king of France 
shewing his disgust at Alexander's conduct, Henry was 
turning the license which had been given him to a practical 
account. He had already alienated many of the lands and 
-sions of the church of Canterbury, besides commit- 
ting wanton destruction on what was left, and had begun 
to levy exactions from the whole body of the clergy, and 
was proceeding to further acts of violence, when the pope 
began to see the necessity of retracing his steps. He ap- 

BECKET. 1-:. 

pointed an embassy for the purpose of remonstrating with 
Henry and pressing him to reconciliation, on peril of the 
sentence of the Church which would otherwise inevitably 
fall upon him, when the restraint at present imposed 
upon the archbishop was removed. This appointment 
took place towards the close of the year 1168, the en- 
voys chosen being Simon, prior of Montdieu. Engelbert, 
prior of Le Val de St Pierre, and Bernard, a monk of 

Through the intercession of these envoys Beckt- 
persuaded to present himself before Henry at Montmirail, 
where the kings of France and England had met in c 
ence to settle their political differences : though in attend- 
ing the conference the archbishop himself felt no 
tation of a satisfactory result. Henry in appearance gave 
way and made concessions. The constitutions of Clarendon 
were not mentioned by name ; but then Becket was re- 
quired to swear that he would keep to the ancient customs 
of the realm. He consented to do this with the clause. 
savin rf his order, and as far as his duty to God permitted : 
the king demanded the oath absolutely and without 
ditions: and they parted without coming to terms. The 
impression on most panics seems to have been that Becket 
had acted with obstinacy rather than firmness* The king 
of France, who had endeavoured to persuade him to yield. 
seemed to be irritated against him. and his dependants 
began to murmur. 

But Becket. unintimidated, had recourse again to - 
rity. On all sides, he spread his censures, suspending 
and excommunicating many, but those particularly who 
had pillaged, or who kept possession of the effects be- 
longing to his see. Among these was the bishop of 
London, whom before, it seems, he had suspended, 
general was the sentence, that scarcely among the king's 
chaplains was there one, from whom, at mass, he could 
take the kiss of peace. Fearful that the anathema might 
reach them, the prelates of the realm and the nobles 

186 BECKET. 

reiterated their appeals to Rome ; and the king again sent 
messengers to the pontiff, namely, the archdeacons of 
Salisbury and Landaff." 

The pope expressed himself towards Becket with con- 
siderable displeasure at these violent proceedings, and 
advised him to suspend the sentence he had pronounced 
against the dignitaries of the realm, in order to mitigate 
the king's wrath till he should hear from the papal envoys 
whether the king would realize his promise of recalling 
him. The matter, in the end, was handed over, as all other 
points at issue, to an embassy, the third which had been 
appointed in the course of the two last years. The nuncios 
appointed were Gratian and Vivian, men learned in the 
laws, and of great reputation in the Roman court. They 
were bound by oath not to accept any present from Henry, 
and they came with a form of agreement prescribed by 
Alexander, and if the king would not consent to it, they 
were ordered to leave him. 

Their first interview with the king was at Donefront in 
Normandy which led to no satisfactory result, both parties 
separating in anger ; but at a conference held soon after at 
Baieux the nuncios were more successful, and Henry ex- 
pressed his readiness to permit Becket to return to his 
see, and to take the archbishop and his friends once more 
into favour. But peace was not yet restored. The form 
of reconciliation remained to be settled, and the king in- 
sisted that the words, saving the dignity of his kingdom, 
should be inserted. " That was but a softer name for the 
customs of Clarendon," observed the primate's friends, 
and proposed that the counter-clause, saving the dignity 
of the Church, should then be admitted. Assemblies 
were held; discussions full of acrimony were revived; and 
neither party would recede. Michaelmas, in the mean 
time, approached, when the commission of the nuncios 
expired, and Gratian, weary of the fruitless negociation, 
prepared to return into Italy. Vivian remained. 

The king had more confidence in Vivian, imagining, 

BECKET. 187 

after the departure of his colleague, that he might be pre- 
vailed on to adopt his measures. He proposed to meet 
him at St Denys, to which place Vivian entreated that 
Becket also would repair, being convinced, from some ex- 
pressions of Henry, that an accommodation would now be 
effected. The primate very reluctantly consented, and 
came to Corbeil. At St Denys, where the two kings again 
met on some public business, Vivian, in vain, laboured to 
extort from Henry a final compliance with the promise, 
he thought he had made him. His answers were evasive; 
and the Italian finding himself duped, did not restrain 
his anger: " So lying a prince," said he, " I never heard 
or saw." They parted ; and the king, passing by Mont- 
martre, was visited by Becket. The archbishop of Rouen, 
with other mediators, spoke for the primate ; requesting 
in his name, that to him and his friends he would give 
peace, permit their return, and restore their possessions 
to them : " while the primate, on his side, they said, was 
ready to do all that an archbishop owed to his prince." 
After some conversation, which seemed to promise a happy 
issue, the petition was reduced to writing, when Becket 
added that, as a pledge of favour and greater security, he 
hoped he might be reconciled to the king by a kiss of 
peace. This was a customary form in reconciliations. 
The petition was read, and much approved; but again the 
king had recourse to evasions, using a circuitous language, 
which, while it seemed to grant every thing, was, in fact, 
loaded with inadmissible conditions. " And as to the 
kiss of peace," said he, "willingly I would grant the 
pledge, had I not publicly sworn in my anger never to do 
it, though concord were restored betwixt us." Thus ended 
the treaty ; for the king of France and many others 
strongly advised the primate not to return to his see, 
unless Henry gave this easy token of peace. 

The year 116U closed without any reconciliation being 
effected between the king and the primate. But Henry, 
knowing the firmness and determination of Becket, was 
now in no little alarm lest his kingdom should be placed 

188 BECKET. 

under an interdict. He sent therefore an edict into 
England purporting, that if any person should be found 
carrying any mandate from the archbishop or the pope, 
whereby an interdict should be laid on the country, he 
should be treated as a traitor to the king and kingdom. 
He also in 1170 procured the coronation of his son Henry, 
a ceremony at which the archbishop of York officiated, 
though it was the province, by prescription, of the arch- 
bishop of Canterbury ; and thus he again placed himself 
in the wrong, and afforded a new grievance, of which 
Becket justly complained. The policy of this measure 
has been amply but unsatisfactorily discussed by modern 
historians; perhaps Henry supposed that by having his son 
anointed, if he himself were excommunicated, there would 
be a way through his son of evading the interdict. But 
whatever may have been the policy of the measure, Henry 
now perceived difficulties increasing around him, and that 
nothing but a reconciliation with Becket would restore 
him to peace. He was tired of the controversy, and acted 
as impetuously in seeking a recouciliation as he had when 
commencing the quarrel. 

The pope had previously issued a new commission to 
Rotrodus or Rotrou archbishop of Rouen, and Bernard 
bishop of Nevers, who were ordered to wait upon Henry, 
and to admonish him to permit Becket to return to his 
see, to restore to him and his friends their possessions 
with full security, and to be reconciled to him with the 
kiss of peace : if he refused they were directed to lay all 
his dominions in France under an interdict ; but if a 
prospect of accommodation appeared, they were authorized 
to absolve the excommunicated, and to exhort the king to 
abolish the evil customs of his kingdom. Alexander had 
received an intimation that to these terms Henry would 
submit, and before he left England the king assured the 
nuncios that nothing should on his side frustrate the 

The king and the archbishop met by agreement in a 
meadow near the town of Freitville, on the borders of 

BECKET. 189 

Touraine, where he had held a conference and settled his 
differences with the king of France. As soon as Becket 
appeared, the king spurring forward his horse with his 
cap in his hand, prevented his salutation, and as if no 
dissention had ever divided them, discoursed with him 
apart with all that easy familiarity which had distinguished 
their former friendship. The crowd of spectators was 
vast, and all viewed the transaction with pleasure. With 
much gentleness, the primate exhorted Henry to retrieve 
his reputation which had suffered, and to make satisfaction 
to the Church. The king assented. Becket then spoke of 
the late coronation, which he represented as an enormous 
derogation from the rights of Canterbury, and histori- 
cally detailed the uniform practice from the conquest. 
"I doubt not," said Henry, "but your see is the most 
noble amongst the western churches ; nor is it my wish 
to deprive it of its rights ; rather, as you shall advise, I 
will strive to repair the evil, and to restore to Canterbury 
its pristine dignity. But to those who hitherto have 
betrayed both you and me, I will, by the blessing of God, 
make such an answer, as the deserts of traitors demand." 
At the words, Becket sprang from his horse, and threw 
himself before the king; but he, seizing the stirrup, forced 
him to remount, and said, as the tears fell from his eyes : 
" My lord archbishop, why many words ? Let us restore 
to each other our former affection, and in mutual good 
offices, forget every cause of rancour. But shew me 
honour, I beg, before those yonder, who have their eyes 
turned towards us." With this, leaving Becket, he rode 
up to the company, and observing some there who had 
been promoters of the late quarrel, he spoke : " If, when 
I find the primate full of all good dispositions in my 
regard, I were not reciprocally good to him, truly, I 
should be the worst of men, and prove that to be true, 
which is said of me. There cannot be any counsel more 
honourable or useful to me, than that I should strive to 
go before him in kindness, and surpass him in the general 

190 BECKET. 

practice of beneficence." The address was received with 
the warmest plaudits. 

He sent to the primate, who remained at a distance, 
desiring he would now, in the face of the assembly, state 
his petition. The bishops who bore the message, advised 
him to submit himself and his cause to the king's plea- 
sure ; but he declined their counsel, and they left him. 
He then deliberated with his friends, the companions 
principally of his exile ; and having adjusted the terms, 
they all moved towards the king, who stood surrounded by 
his attendants. In the name of Becket, the archbishop 
of Sens spoke, and petitioned, "that he would restore to 
the primate his royal favour, peace and security to him 
and his, with the church of Canterbury, and the posses- 
sions belonging to it, as set down in a writing the king 
had seen ; that he would be graciously pleased to amend, 
what had been presumptuously done against him and his 
church, in the late coronation ; while, on his side, the 
primate promised love and honour, and whatever service 
can be performed in the Lord, by an archbishop, to his 
sovereign." — " I agree to all," replied the monarch, " and 
the primate and his friends I again take into favour." 

A long and private conversation, with the familiarity of 
ancient friendship, now took place between them ; and 
only as night approached, they parted, having agreed, that 
Becket should first wait on the French king and his other 
benefactors, as gratitude required ; and then make some 
stay with Henry, before he returned into England, that 
the world might learn how sincere their reconciliation was. 
They were departing, when it was proposed to Becket, that 
he should absolve the excommunicated, shewing to others 
the indulgence, which himself had just experienced. He 
observed, that the cases were very different, there being 
some in that number whom the pope and other bishops 
had suspended, and whose crimes were of various descrip- 
tions . "But being willing to shew mercy to all," said he, 
41 1 will take the advice of my king, and proceed as shall 

BECKET. 191 

seem most expedient." Apprehensive that an altercation 
might ensue, Henry drew the primate from the crowd, and 
requesting he would not heed the discourses of such men, 
he begged his benediction, and they all retired. 

Soon after the conference, as they had been empowered, 
the commissioners absolved the excommunicated ; and 
Becket despatched agents to take possession of the lands 
and the effects of his see ; for the king had sent letters 
patent to his son, whereby he was commanded to make an 
ample restitution of all things, as they had been possessed 
three months before the prirnate departed from England. 
But it was the interest of many not to comply with these 
injunctions. They had long received the great revenues 
of the see, and were not disposed to relinquish them. Ex- 
cuses therefore were made, difficulties were raised, the 
young king was imposed upon, and the day of restitution 
was put off. In the mean time, greater extortions were 
committed, and the produce of the lands, and the furni- 
ture of houses and castles, were consumed or conveyed to 
a distance. So the agents reported. 

Becket did not see the king again for several weeks, 
and when he waited upon him at Tours he was received 
with a marked coolness ; and the king, being pressed 
to execute the terms of peace, he told Becket to go to 
England, and that his possessions would be restored. 
A few days after, he met him at Chaumont near Blois, 
when Henry, with great kindness, conversed with him ; 
and it was finally agreed, that he should immediately 
return to Canterbury. But it was evident, that the 
king's heart was altered, and that he felt no longer the 
warmth of returning affection, which he had expressed 
at Freitville. From that time two months had elapsed. 
The change might be owing to many causes, (if ever his 
professions were sincere,) but principally it arose from the 
representations of those, who were interested in the pro- 
longation of the quarrel, or who, from enmity to Becket, 
wished he might never return. 

These proceedings forced Becket to complain again to 


the court of Rome, and he now received the support in 
that quarter which he had long desired, but sought for in 
vain. The court of Rome, with its usual policy, aided 
Becket when they perceived the cause of Becket to be the 
strongest. The pope of Rome was now fully prepared 
to support the primate of Canterbury, if the latter laid 
England under an interdict, and he was advised to do so 


if Henry still continued to violate his engagements. All 
occupiers of church lands were ordered to make restitution 
on pain of excommunication ; and the bishops who had 
assisted at the coronation of prince Henry were suspended, 
both on account of the irregularity of their proceedings, 
and because they allowed the omission of the oath for 
maintaining the liberty of the Church, and had themselves 
sworn to observe the constitutions of Clarendon. The 
bishops of London and Salisbury also, had been placed 
again under the sentence of excommunication, which 
Becket had pronounced, and which, by the usurped autho- 
rity of the see of Rome, had been removed through the 
management of John of Oxford. It is impossible not to 
regret the entire submission which Becket exhibited to 
the see of Rome, contrary to the canons of the Church 
universal, and the more so as he had the wisdom to see 
that the court of Rome ^as now as injudicious in its 
support, as it had been before unjust in its interference 
between him and the king. So strong, indeed, were the 
threatened proceedings of the pope at this time, that 
Becket for once was obliged to be moderator, and actually 
withheld some letters, which gave him an authority to 
exercise greater severity than he considered wise and 

It would have been well if Becket had continued to act 
with this prudence. But while he was at Witsand, pre- 
paring to sail for England, information was brought him 
that the three prelates, Roger of York, Gilbert of London, 
and Joscelin of Salisbury, who knew that the archbishop 
carried with him papal letters for their suspension, which 
he might use at any time, had sent to the coast Ranulf de 

BECKET. 193 

Broc, with a party of soldiers, to search him on his 
landing, and to take them from him. In a moment of 
irritation Becket despatched them before himself by a 
trusty messenger, by whom, or by whose means, they were 
delivered publicly to the bishops in the presence of their 
attendants. Thus had Becket before reaching England 
rendered a reconciliation with these powerful prelates im- 
possible. He knew his difficulties ; he was forewarned of 
his danger. The sarcasms with which the king of Eng- 
land still refused the kiss of peace, which was really a part 
of his promise, shewed that he meditated hostile proceed- 
ings against the archbishop; and it was against the advice 
of all that Becket returned to England before this formality 
had been conceded. To the friendly advice of some who 
came to him with no false reports of deadly preparations 
to receive him on the shores of Kent, he answered : "Did 
you tell me that I was to be torn limb from limb I would 
not regard it ; for I am resolved that nothing shall hinder 
my return. Seven years are long enough for a pastor to 
have been absent from the Lord's sorrowing flock. I only 
ask my friends, and a last request should be attended to, 
that if I shall not return to my church alive, they will 
carry me into it, dead." 

He embarked on the festival of St Andrew, 1170, and 
after a prosperous voyage landed in Sandwich harbour on 
the first of December. He avoided Dover for reasons 
assigned before. He was received by the clergy and peo- 
ple with unbounded attestations of joy. The Church 
was still the people's party. She was the protector of the 
rights and liberties of the people, and was in the middle 
ages, as in the primitive ages after the time of Constantine, 
always popular, but never more so than when resisting 
the tyrannical acts of an unjust government. The Church 
was then powerful : and it was because Becket was at the 
head of a body thus powerful, that Henry, while he hated, 
dared not openly to attack him. It was not till the Church 
succumbed to the state, and sought to become an aristo- 

VOL. IT, n 

194 BECKET. 

cratic corporation that her power -was lost, and her means 
of benefiting mankind curtailed. On the 3rd of Decem- 
ber Becket entered Canterbury, " all the inhabitants," 
says Fitz-Stephen, a witness of the fact, " rejoiced, from 
the greatest to the least : they decked out the cathedral ; 
dressed themselves in silks and expensive clothing ; pre- 
pared a public entertainment : a numerous procession 
attended the archbishop into the town : the churches re- 
sounded with chants and anthems, and the halls with 
trumpets : every where there were sounds of rejoicing. 
His lordship preached a most instructive sermon on the 
text, " Here we have no continuing city, but seek one to 
come." After he had been eight days in England he set 
out to wait upon the young king, whom he had brought up 
as boy, and for whom he had prepared splendid presents. 
On his entering London Fitz-Stephen informs us that " a 
vast multitude of clergy, and others, both men and women, 
came out to welcome him back from exile, and to bless 
God for his return. The poor scholars and the clergy of 
the London churches, had drawn themselves up in order 
about three miles from the city, and when, immediately 
on his approach, with a loud and clear voice, they began 
the hymn Te Deum Laudamus, there was scarcely a per- 
son present who could refrain from weeping. He himself 
bowed his head in gratitude, and caused a large alms to 
be distributed. When he had arrived at the church and 
dismounted, the canons, who met him in procession at 
the porch, sung the first verse of the hymn, ' Blessed is 
the Lord God of Israel,' and the whole multitude, laity 
and clergy, young and old, took up the response." 

Little did the people know that the honest expression 
of their joy at receiving their pastor again, only served to 
exasperate the enemies of the primate. The courtiers, 
w T ho dreaded the influence of the archbishop over the 
mind of his former pupil, procured a peremptory order for 
him to return and confine himself to his diocese. He 
obeyed, and spent the following days in prayer and the- 

BECKET. 195 

functions of his station. Yet they were days of distress 
and anxiety. The menaces of his enemies seemed to 
derive strength from each succeeding event. His pro- 
visions were hourly intercepted ; his property plundered ; 
his servants were beaten and insulted. He looked in vain 
for support where he had most right to expect it. 

It has been stated that the port of Dover, and other 
ports, where the archbishop was expected to land, had 
been watched. It is hardly fair to consider those who 
undertook this office as a mere party of assassins, as is 
done by some historians. It was reported that the arch- 
bishop was bringing with him mandates from the pope, 
and this was contrary to the laws of the land. They were 
obeying the king when they determined to search the 
archbishop. But on the day after the archbishop's first 
arrival at Canterbury, these parties came into the presence 
of the primate, and demanded the absolution of those 
who had been excommunicated. The bishops of London 
and Salisbury would have submitted, but were persuaded 
by the prelate of York, who boasted that he had £8,000 
in his treasure-box, wherewith to harass the archbishop of 
Canterbury, and assured his two brethren that, if they 
were reconciled with Becket, the royal hands would soon 
be laid upon their temporals. This warning took such an 
effect upon the two prelates, that they joined with the 
archbishop of York, and immediately passed over to Henry 
in Normandy, and made bitter complaints against the 
primate, on account of their excommunication, for the 
part they had taken in the young king's coronation. 
" Truly," answered Henry, with an oath, " if all who took 
part in that business are excommunicated, I myself am 
not excluded."' The three prelates continued day by day 
to urge him, till his anger knew no bounds ; and it is 
well known that Henry, when under the influence of rage, 
was wont to sink far below human nature. 

Others there were who were continually misrepresenting 
the actions of the archbishop to the king. On his way 
back from London to Canterbury, he was attended bv a 


slight escort, as a precaution against freebooters. There 
were in all " five shields, swords, and lances in his train." 
It was immediately told Henry that he was making a 
circuit of the kingdom at the head of a large army, arrayed 
in helmets and coats of mail, that he was besieging towns, 
and meditated driving the young king out of the country. 
At Canterbury he dismissed his five soldiers. The king's 
fury was fanned into resistless violence. He sought 
council of his prelates and barons : " My lord," said one, 
11 while Thomas lives you can have no peace." With such 
violence of gesture as sufficiently spoke his meaning, the 
king replied, — " Of the caitiffs who eat my bread, is there 
none to free me from this turbulent priest." 

Four barons, — Reginald Fitzurse, William de Tracey 
Hugo de MoreviUe, and Richard Bryto left the court. 

On Christmas-day the archbishop preached at Canter- 
bury with his usual earnestness and animation : at the 
conclusion, he observed that those who thirsted for his 
blood would soon be satisfied, but that he must first 
avenge the wrongs of the Church, by excommunicating 
Ftanulf and Robert de Broc, who for seven years had not 
ceased to inflict every injury in their power on him and 
on his clergy. 

At Saltwood, the residence of the Brocs, the four barons 
above named assembled on the Tuesday following, to 
arrange their operations for carrying into effect the vow 
they had made, either to carry off or to murder the 

The next day, the 29th of December, while the primate 
was conversing on business with some of his clergy, after 
dinner, the knights entered his apartment, his palace 
forming part of Christ-church. Neglecting his salutation, 
they seated themselves on the floor. It seems to have 
been their wish to begin by intimidation : but if they 
hoped to succeed, they knew little of the intrepid spirit 
of their opponent ; and yet they knew him well, for the 
atrocity of their conduct is heightened by the fact, that of 

BECKET. 107 

the four knights, three had, in the days of his prosperity, 
sworn fealty to him. 

" We bring you orders from the king," said Reginald 
Fitzurse, after a pause of silence : " will you hear them in 
" public, or in private?" " As it shall please you best," 
replied Becket. " In private then," rejoined Reginald: 
on which the company was told to quit the room. But he 
had not spoken long, when the primate observed that, it 
would be well that others should hear what he said ; and 
calling to his clergy, bade them to return. Reginald pro- 
ceeded : " We order you, in the king's name, to go to his 
son, and pay him the homage which is due to your lord." 
" I have done it," replied Becket. — " You have not," 
said Reginald; "for you have suspended his bishops, 
which looks as if you would tear the crown from his 
head." — " Many crowns, rather, I would place on his 
head ; and as to the bishops, they were suspended not by 
me, but by the pope ;" answered the primate. — " The 
sentence was procured by you," he rejoined. — Becket 
said ; " It does not displease me, I confess, when the 
pope avenges the injuries of the Church and my own." 
He then spoke of the insults he had received, and of the 
many evils to which his own possessions and those of his 
friends had been exposed, since the reconciliation at 
Freitville. "Had you brought these complaints before your 
peers," observed Reginald, interrupting him, "justice 
had been done you." — " I have experienced the contrary," 
replied Becket: "But, Reginald ; you and more than two 
hundred knights were present, when the king told me, 
I might compel those to make satisfaction, by ecclesias- 
tical censures, who had disturbed the peace of the Church; 
nor can I longer dissemble the proper discharge of my 
pastoral duties." — The knights sprang from the ground; 
"We heard no such words," exclaimed they : " but these 
are threats. Honks ; we command you to guard this man : 
if he escape, you shall answer for him." So saying, they 
went out; but Becket following them to the outward door: 

198 BECKET. 

" I came not here to run away, gentlemen." he called after 
them; "nor do I value your threats." You shall find 
something more than threats ;" they answered, and de- 

" It is wonderful," said John of Salisbury, when they 
were gone, " that you will take no one's advice. Why 
still irritate those miscreants by your replies, and follow 
them to the door? We could have advised you better." 
" My resolution is taken," answered the primate: " and I 
well know what I should do." " Heaven grant it may 
he successful ! " rejoined the secretary. 

In the court of the palace, under a large mulberry- 
tree, the knights took off their outer garments, and ap- 
peared in armour; and having opened the door to the 
soldiers they had brought with them, they all seized their 
arms, and again entered the palace. The arms the knights 
bore, were an axe in the left hand, to break through ob- 
stacles, if necessary, and in the right they brandished 
their naked swords. With much difficulty the primate 
had been prevailed on to leave his apartment : but the 
monks, whom his danger had alarmed, insisted on it ; 
and as the evening service had begun, they led him to the 
church. With a slow and reluctant step, he advanced 
through the cloisters, and entered by a side door. All was 
confusion here. " Cowards," said he to them, as they 
were barring the doors, " I forbid you to do it. I did not 
come here to resist, but to suffer." Scarcely had he said 
the words, when the assassins, who had not found him in 
the palace, came rushing through the cloisters, and 
entering the church, divided. The primate, meanwhile, 
had ascended a few steps towards the choir. " Where is 
the traitor Becket?" exclaimed Reginald Fitzurse ; and 
as no answer was given: "Where is the archbishop?" 
he repeated in a louder tone. Becket turned his head, 
and coming down the steps, said ; " Here I am. Regi- 
nald, I have done you many kindnesses : and do you 
come to me thus armed ?" He seized the primate's robe : 

BECKET. 109 

" You shall know at once,'' said he. " Get out from 
hence, and die." " I will not move ;" replied the primate, 
drawing his robe from his hand. " Then fly ;" exclaimed 
the knight. "Nor that either;" observed Becket : "but 
if it is my blood you want, I am ready to die, that the 
Church may obtain liberty and peace ; only, in the name 
of God, I forbid you to hurt any of my people." 

Reginald retired to give a severer blow ; and being 
joined by the other assassins, he struck with all his 
might : but Edward Grime, a clerk, interposing his arm, 
received the weight of the blow, and the archbishop was 
only wounded on the head. "Now strike:" exclaimed 
Reginald. Becket bowing his head, in a posture of 
prayer: "To God/' said he, "and the patrons of this 
place, I commend myself and the Church's cause." They 
were his last words. Without a motion or a groan, in the 
same devout attitude, with his hands joined, he received 
a second stroke, and as the murderers multiplied their 
blows, he fell motionless at their feet, "He is dead," 
said they, and went out. 

Thus died this extraordinary man, in the fifty-third 
year of his age. 

The clergy, with many of the inhabitants of Canterbury, 
wept over the body that night. They were surprised to 
find the habit of a monk and a hair shirt beneath the 
splendid robes of the archbishop, who had not pretended 
to any peculiar asceticism, even after his elevation to the 

Becket died a martyr, in the same sense in which 
Ridley and Latimer, prelates of the same Church, suffered 
martyrdom at a later period ; and perhaps we may add 
the name of his successor, Cranmer : though Cranmer 
sought to avoid his fate by a recantation, and Becket 
preserved his constancy to the end. They were all of 
them martyrs for principles which they believed to be 
true, and in a cause which they thought to be the cause 
of God and the gospel. 

Becket contended for a principle, devoted his life to 

200 BECON. 

maintain it, and willingly died to support it. His prin- 
ciple "was to maintain the liberty of the Church : but alas ! 
while he would contend for the Church's liberty against 
the king, he was prepared to deliver her bound hand and 
foot to a foreign prince and prelate, the bishop of Rome. 
Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer contended for the Church's 
liberty against the pope, but delivered her up a slave to 
the state. While they defied the fulminations of the court 
of Rome, at a time when they had begun to lose their 
terrors, they succumbed to a tyrant like Henry VIII, 
armed with despotic powers : Becket opposed with the 
spirit of chivalry the tyranny of Henry II, but in ignor- 
ance of his episcopal rights, and yielding to the temper of 
the age, he appeared as a suppliant in the court of Rome. 
By the church of Rome he was canonized, for, though 
the primate of the church of England, he was a Romani- 
zer, and did much to bring our beloved church under a 
foreign yoke. 

By his own church since the reformation, his name as 
a saint has been erased from the calendar, and certainly 
his virtues, though they are not to be denied, were not of 
that high class and character which we look for in persons 
regarded as saints, while the idolatrous worship paid at 
his shrine before the reformation rendered it necessary 
for the Church to take steps to prevent the repetition of 
it. — Quadrilogus. F it z- Stephen. Ep. D. Thomm. Fronde's 
Remains. History of Henry II. by Littleton Berrington. 
Bapin. Lingard. Sharon Turner, and Poole. 

Becon, Thomas, was born about the year 1511, but 
whether Norfolk, Suffolk, or Kent had the honor of 
being the place of his birth, his biographers are doubtful, 
and he seems not to have known himself. At an early age 
he w r as sent to St John's college, Cambridge, where he 
graduated in 1530. At that time there was a party in 
the university anxiously desirous of obtaining a reforma- 
tion in our venerable establishment : this reforming party 
w r as strongly opposed by most of the heads of houses and 

BECON. 201 

the influential members of the university, but it reckoned 
among its numbers many men the most distinguished for 
learning and virtue of the day. Becon mentions his 
obligations at this time to Latimer and to Stafford, a 
fellow at Pembroke hall, and reader in divinity : he 
mentions a saying which had passed into a proverb among 
the reforming party, " When master Stafford read, and 
master Latimer preached, then was Cambridge blessed." 
Becon was ordained in 1538; it is probable that his 
reforming principles made him an object of suspicion to 
the bishops of the church of England, and occasioned the 
delay of his ordination until he was twenty-six years of 
age. His first preferment was the vicarage of Brensett or 
Brenzett, near Romney, in Kent. He was extremely 
cautious in his manner of speaking of those doctrines and 
ceremonies in which our beloved Church at that period 
needed a reformation; so cautious, that he published 
under the feigned name of Theodore Basil. Being aware 
that Henry VIII was open to flattery, from policy or 
attachment, he was lavish in his praises of that tyrannical 
prince. But notwithstanding his caution and policy, he 
fell under suspicion and was thrown into prison. He had 
been long attached to the reforming party, but although 
his pen had been ever ready to defend the principles of 
the reformation, he did not think it necessary to defend 
them by his blood or to die in the cause, and therefore 
in 1541 he was brought to St Paul's cross, where he 
recanted, revoked his doctrine, and burned his books. 
He naturally felt that he could write other books, if by 
his recantation he could save his life, and he was willing 
to revoke his doctrine that his life might be spared to 
benefit the reformation, if better days were to come. His 
recantation commenced : " Worshipful audience, for decla- 
ration of my penitent heart, and the testifying you my 
unfeigned conversion from error to truth, I occupy this 
day the place of a penitent praying you to give credit to 
that which I shall now say of myself," &c. After his 
recantation he retired quietly to the country. His dis- 

202 BECON. 

cretion on this occasion is vindicated by himself: "When 
neither by speaking nor by writing I could do good, I 
thought it best, he says in his "Jewel of Joy," not rashly 
to throw myself into the paw of these greedy wolves ; but 
for a certain season to absent myself from their tyranny, 
according to the doctrine of the gospel." It may have 
been according to the gospel to flee away from persecu- 
tion, but it was " another gospel" to declare publicly his 
" unfeigned conversion" from his former opinions, which 
he called error, to certain other opinions which he called 
truth, when, by so doing he was telling a falsehood. It 
appears that if the " greedy wolves" were deceived into a 
belief that his conversion was unfeigned, his friends were 
soon persuaded that he had only told a falsehood to save 
his life ; for on his retiring to the Peak of Derbyshire the 
partizans of the reformation rallied round him, and in 
the library of Mr Alsop he was pleased to find his own 
treatises, published under the name of Basil, and he soon 
forgot that he had denounced them and burnt them, 
" with a penitent heart," as full of errors. From Derby- 
shire he went to Staffordshire and thence to Warwickshire 
and Leicestershire, supporting himself by pupils, and 
finding pleasure in the society of the reformers. He 
published also several treatises, though with his usual 
discretion, under a feigned name. Among the works 
published at this time was the " Governance of Virtue," 
written, as he expresses himself, "in the bloody, bois- 
terous, burning time, when the reading of the holy Bible, 
the word of our soul's health, was forbidden the poor lay 

On the accession of King Edward VI. the reforming 
party was in power, and they gave proof that they consi- 
dered Becon's former conversion as merely feigned to save 
his life, by obtaining for him the rectory of St Stephen 
Walbrook, to which he was instituted in 1547. He was 
also chaplain to Dr Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, 
by whom he was appointed one of the six preachers in 
Canterbury cathedral. Becon now began to enjoy the 

BECON. 203 

comforts of life : he married a wife and had several chil- 
dren : he was soon after appointed chaplain to the duke 
of Somerset, to whom he appears to have been sincerely 
attached. It has been supposed by some that he held 
also some post in the university of Oxford. He continued 
to write, and his treatises at this time were chiefly devo- 
tional. He was accustomed at all times to express himself 
strongly, and therefore we may hope that his description 
of the dreadful effects of the ultra-protestant principles 
which were in vogue during the reign of Edward VI. may 
be too deeply coloured. If it be only true in part, (and no 
one was better able to judge of the truth than Thomas 
Becon,) it will in some degree account for the violence 
with which the reformers were opposed in the reign of 
Mary, when the conservatives in state displaced the re- 
formers, and the Romanizers for the last time obtained 
ascendancy in our church. In his preface to the "Jewel of 
Joy," Becon gives what Strype calls "a clear sight of the 
behaviour of these times." What a number of false Chris- 
tians," he says, " live there at this present day, unto the 
exceeding dishonour of the Christian profession, which with 
their mouth confess that they know God, but with their 
deeds they utterly deny him, and are abominable, disobe- 
dient to the word of God, and utterly estranged from all 
good works ? What a swarm of gross gospellers have we 
also among us, which can prattle of the gospel very finely, 
talk much of the justification of faith, crake very stoutly 
of the free remission of all their sins by Christ's blood, 
avaunce themselves to be of the number of those, which are 
predestinate unto eternal glory? But how far does their 
life differ from all true Christianity ? They are puffed up 
with all kind of pride : they swell with all kind of envy, 
malice, hatred, and enmity against their neighbour, they 
burn with unquenchable lusts of carnal concupiscence, they 
wallow and tumble in all kind of beastly pleasures ; their 
greedy covetous affections are insatiable : the enlarging 
of their lordships, the increasing of their substance, the 
scraping together of their worldly possessions infinite, and 

204 BECON. 

knoweth no end. In fine, all their endeavours tend unto 
this end, to shew themselves very ethnics, and utterly 
estranged from God in their conversation, although in 
words they otherwise pretend. As for their alms-deeds, 
their praying, their watching, their fasting, and such other 
godly exercises of the spirit, they are utterly banished 
from these rude and gross gospellers All their religion 
consisteth in words and disputations ; in Christian acts 
and godly deeds nothing at all." 

On the accession of queen Mary, Becon was deprived 
of his living as a married priest : he was also accused of 
being a seditious preacher, and for preaching sedition was 
cast into prison. He probably had advocated the unsuc- 
cessful revolution attempted by the reforming party under 
the lady Jane Grey. He continued in prison till March 
1554. By what means he escaped is not known, but we 
are told that " there is no reason to imagine that it was 
through any dereliction of his principles :" indeed the 
persons in power were not likely to believe him a second 

He repaired to Strasburgh : where he published among 
other things a letter or treatise to popish priests, called 
the "Displaying of the Popish Mass;" while his works 
were considered as sufficiently important in England to 
be denounced in a proclamation issued in 1555. 

Becon returned home with the other reformers when 
queen Elizabeth came to the throne. He was restored to 
his benefice in London, and to his preachership at Can- 
terbury. But he was not advanced to any high station in 
the church ; the objection to him probably being that he 
was opposed to the principles of the Church. In 1502 he 
signed a paper, in conjunction with many other ultra- 
protestants, containing propositions for the omission of 
the catholic ceremonies still retained in the church of 
England. And in 1564 we find him refusing to subscribe 
to the ecclesiastical regulations which were put to the 
London clergy for their subscription. The clergy were 
summoned before the archbishop of Canterbury and the 

BECON. 208 

bishop of London at Lambeth, when, according to Strype, 
the bishop's chancellor spoke thus : " My masters and 
the ministers of London, the council's pleasure is, that 
strictly ye keep the unity of apparel like to this man," 
pointing to Mr Robert Cole, (a minister likewise of the 
city who had refused the habits a while, and now complied, 
and stood before them canonically habited,) "as you see 
him ; that is a square cap, a scholar's gown priest-like, a 
tippet, and in the church a linen surplice : and inviolably 
observe the rubric of the Book of Common Prayer, and 
the queen's majesty's injunctions ; and the Book of Con- 
vocation, [that must be the Thirty-nine Articles.] Ye that 
will presently subscribe, write Yolo. Those that will not 
subscribe, write Nolo. Be brief; make no words." And 
when some would have spoken, the answer was, "Peace, 
peace." Apparitor, call "the churches;" [that is, the 
names of each parish church ; and each minister to an- 
swer when his church was named.] " Masters, answer 
presently, sub jmna contemptus; and set your names." 
Then the Sumner called first the peculiars of Canter- 
bury; then some of Winchester diocese, [viz. such 
whose livings were in Southwark ;] and lastly, the London 

By these resolute doings many of the incumbents were 
mightily surprised. And the above mentioned journalist, 
who was one of them, thus wrote of it : " Mens hearts 
were tempted and tried. Great was the sorrow of most 
ministers, and their mourning, saying, We are killed in 
the soul of our souls for this pollution of ours ; for that 
we cannot perform in the singleness of our hearts this our 

Strype says that Becon refused at first, but afterwards 
subscribed and was preferred, " as were others that did 
the like." 

He seems to have been noticed by Dr Parker, arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, and to have been on friendly terms 
with him, as a letter is preserved, in which, after men- 

VOL. II. s 

306 BECON. 

tioning his own donation to his grace, of an ancient 
exposition of the Gospels of St Mark and St Luke, he 
adds, " My wife, your grace's daily oratrix, hath added 
her poor present, that is, a couple of fat capons and six 
chickens." This fact, coupled with his not obtaining 
higher preferment, at a time when it was difficult to find 
a sufficieDt number of respectable men, holding reforma- 
tion principles, for the higher offices, inclines us to 
suppose that he was known to be too ultra in his pro- 

His powers as a popular preacher were probably con- 
siderable, as one of his Lent sermons at St Paul's cross, 
made such an impression on the lord mayor, that his 
lordship requested the archbishop of Canterbury that 
Becon might be appointed to preach one of the Spital 
sermons at the ensuing Easter. 

His worldly circumstances were not good, as in several 
of his prefaces and dedications he bemoans his poverty ; 
he says in his preface to his catechism, written in 1560, 
he had " ever been attempted with the cruel assaults of 
envious fortune." But the poverty of a pluralist and a 
prebendary of Canterbury must only have been compara- 
tive. It was not the positive poverty of the primitive 

Becon died at Canterbury in 1563, having been the 
author of tracts almost innumerable in favour of the re- 
formation : they are now almost forgotten, but have lately 
been reprinted by the Parker Society, a society to which 
antiquarians and the collectors of rare books are much 
indebted. There is a vigor in his style, and often a fervour 
of devotion in his tone, which must have given an interest 
and charm to his writings when they were first published ; 
and although his works are disfigured by party feeling, 
they may be profitably consulted by those who are engaged 
in writing popular tracts. — Tanner. Strypes Crammer and 
Parker. Luptons Modem Divines. Life prefixed to the 
Parker Society's edition of Becon s Works. 

BEDE. 207 

Bede. ** The venerable Bede" was born about the year 
673, in a village on the east coast of Northumberland, 
now covered with the sea. He was a pupil of the noble 
and learned Benedict Biscop, and studied for some time 
in the monastery of Benedictines at Weremouth, of which 
his tutor and patron was the founder. From Weremouth 
he removed to the monastery of Jarrow, and at the age of 
nineteen he was ordained deacon by John of Beverley, 
bishop of Hexham. He continued to devote himself to 
his studies, which embraced the whole circuit of learned 
and polite literature of those days, as well as the pursuits 
most becoming his sacred office, until he was thirty years 
of age, when he was ordained priest by the same hand 
which had admitted him to the diaconate. 

The duties of priests are thus described in the canons 
of Edgar : — 

" They were forbidden to carry any controversy among 
themselves to a lay-tribunal : their own companions were 
to settle it, or the bishop was to determine it. 

" No priest was to forsake the church to which he was 
consecrated, nor to intermeddle with the rights of others, 
nor to take the scholar of another. He was to learn sedu- 
lously his own handicraft, and not put another to shame 
for his ignorance, but to teach him better. The high- 
born were not to despise the less-bom, nor any to be un- 
righteous or covetous dealers. He was to baptize when- 
ever required, and to abolish all heathenism and witchcraft. 
They were to take care of their churches, and apply ex- 
clusively to their sacred duties ; and not to indulge in idle 
speech, or idle deeds, or excessive drinking ; nor to let 
dogs come within their church-inclosure, nor more swine 
than a man might govern. 

" They were to celebrate mass only in churches, and on 
the altar, unless in cases of extreme sickness. They were 
to have at mass their corporalis garment, and the subucula 
under their alba ; and all their omciatiug garments were 
to be woven. Each was to have a good and right book. 
No one was to celebrate mass, unless fasting, and unless 

208 BEDE. 

he had one to make responses ; nor more than three times 
a day; nor unless he had, for the Eucharist, pure bread, 
wine and water. The cup was to be of something molten, 
not of wood. No woman was to come near the altar 
during mass. The bell was to be rung at the proper 

" They were to preach every Sunday to the people; and 
always to give good examples. They were ordered to teach 
youth with care, and to draw them to some craft. They 
were to distribute alms, and urge the people to give them, 
and to sing the psalms during the distribution, and to 
exhort the poor to intercede for the donors. They were 
forbidden to swear, and were to avoid ordeals. They were 
to recommend confession, penitence, and compensation ; 
to administer the sacrament to the sick, and to anoint 
him if he desired it ; and the priest was always to keep oil 
ready for this purpose and for baptism. He was neither 
to hunt, or hawk, or dice ; but to play with his book as 
became his condition." 

He now began, but not till he had been requested by 
the bishop, to apply himself to writing; and his authorship 
extended over the same wide field in which he had before 
laboured as a student. Astrology, poetry, and rhetoric were 
illustrated by his pen ; he wrote comments on parts of the 
Holy Scriptures ; and he left behind him an ecclesiastical 
history of England, which will be his most honourable 
monument, as long as literature has any being. Besides 
this, he was much engaged in the instruction of youth, a 
task which he fulfilled in a manner nobly attested by the 
future eminence of some of his pupils : nor did his hand 
cease to labour in those offices which come, from a change 
of habits, to be accounted menial, though the prosperity 
of the more exemplary religious societies in those days, 
partly depended on their being discharged by the honoured 
hands of the priests and deacons of their fraternity. 

His history Bede undertook at the instance of Ceolwulph, 
king of Xorthumbria, a great admirer and patron of 
learned men, and of those especially who led a monastic 

BEDE. 209 

life. After Becle's death, Ceolwulph himself, resigned his 
crown, and became a monk at Lindisfarn ; by no means a 
solitary instance of such a step in those days, and certainly 
not so ignoble a one as some may sneeringly suggest, 
There is difficulty enough, and more than enough, in any 
state of society, to maintain a consistent Christian course, 
when encumbered with the cares, and solicited by the 
temptations, of state and splendour : but when princes 
were either unworthy of their name or must themselves 
be their own ministers in every department ; and when 
the whole state of society was so barbarous and irregular as 
to make it impossible to hold even the right, without vio- 
lence or policy, which might soon degenerate into treachery 
and cruelty, a great man might well seek repose and 
time for the concerns of his soul, before he was called out 
of this world of preparation for a better. It was perhaps a 
venial ambition in the monasteries to court such retiring 
princes to their walls : at any rate, there the noble recluses 
found a rest congenial with their present wishes; and 
thence, together with other means, the ecclesiastical bodies 
acquired wealth, and a weight of influence which gives a 
colour to the rest of the history of the middle ages. 

Of the last hours of Bede we have an account by an eye 
witness, and nothing can more beautifully attest the truth 
of his religion, sanctifying all his labours, and bringing 
him peace at the end. From a fortnight before Easter, 
until the day of our Lord's accension, he had been troubled 
with difficulty of breathing ; but he continued cheerful, 
and occupied in his devotions, especially in thanksgiving : 
nor did he forget the daily lessons, which he read to his 
disciples. The night too was interrupted with his prayers 
and hymns, and on Ascension-day singing the Antiphon, 
" Glorious King, Lord of power, who, triumphing on 
this day, didst ascend above all the heavens, forsake not 
us orphans ; but send clown upon us the promised Spirit 
of Truth," at the words forsake us not, he and all with 
him burst into tears. He was still engaged at such in- 

s 2 

210 BEDE. 

tervals as he could command in dictating a translation 
into the vernacular tongue of the gospel according to St 
John. " Dear master," said his attendant, when he was 
just ready to depart, " there is yet one sentence not writ- 
ten." This he dictated, and said "It is ended. Support 
my head on your hands, that I may sit facing the holy 
place where I was wont to pray, and to sing ' Glory be to 
the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;"' when 
he had named the Holy Ghost his spirit took its flight, 
and all who beheld him die, said that they had never 
before seen such devotion and tranquillity. 

His death took place on Ascension-day, in the year of 
grace 735, and he was buried by the brethren of his house, 
in the south porch of the church of Jarrow. He was long 
reverenced as a saint, nor will the true Christian refuse 
him that most noble title to this day. In such men is 
the real strength of the Church, though this strength may 
be visibly wielded by such men as his contemporary 

Of the ecclesiastical history of Bede, it will be enough 
to say, that he had to write of times into the annals of 
which it is scarcely possible to infuse much interest, yet 
the evident predominance of one feeling in his own heart, 
irresistibly leads the heart of his reader with him ; and 
amidst all the incoherency and disjointedness of his inci- 
dent, which is the fault of his times, there is an admirable 
unity of thought and design, which is his own peculiar 
merit. He is every where the Christian and the ecclesi- 
astical historian. His work is the chief authority for the 
events of the preceding times, and where his task is closed, 
there history assumes a darker and more uninviting aspect 
for many generations. 

The homilies of Bede were in such repute that they 
were read in the churches even during his life, and he 
takes his place among the very best expositors of Holy 
Writ, in that or any age. His name is inserted in the 
calendar on the :27th of May, which day the church 

BEDELL. 311 

of England appoints to be dedicated to his memory, 
even to the present time. Numberless reasons have 
been assigned why the epithet venerable should have 
so inseparably been attached to Bede. It was probably 
given to him by his contemporaries in his old age, from 
the peculiar dignity of his manners. The legendary 
tales relating to the origin of the title are amusing : 

We are told that when he grew old, and was through 
age blind, one of his disciples carried him abroad to a 
place where there lay a great heap of stones, and told 
him he was surrounded by a great crowd of people, who 
waited with silence and attention to receive his spiritual 
consolation. The old man accordingly made a long dis- 
course, which he concluded with a prayer, and the stones 
very punctually made their response, " Amen, venerable 

Another story relating to this title, and no less to be 
credited than the first, is thus reported. A young man a 
monk studying for an epitaph for Bede got thus far, 

Hac sunt in fossa BEDiE ossa. 

His head not being well turned for poetry, he could find 
no words to fill up this hiatus ; and after tormenting him- 
self to no purpose, he fell asleep : . but the next morning 
returning to his task, with infinite astonishment he found 
the line completed thus, by some invisible hand. 
Hac sunt in fossa Bedae venerabilis ossa. 

Cave. Bedes Works, edit, by Giles. 

Bedell, William, was born in 1570 at Black Xotleyin 
the county of Essex. In 1592, he was chosen fellow 7 of 
Emmanuel college, Cambridge, and took his degree of 
B D. in 1599. On leaving the university he was pre- 
sented to the living of St Edmondsbury in Suffolk, where 
he remained till the year 1604, when he was appointed 
by Sir Henry Wotton, at that time ambassador to the 
republic of Venice, to be his chaplain. At Venice he 
remained for eight years, and formed the friendship of 
father Paul Sarpi. 

112 BEDELL. 

Pope Paul the Fifth had at this time placed the 
republic of Venice under an interdict, and the Venetian 
senate had taken steps to prevent the execution of the 
interdict by an act prohibiting the cessation of public 
worship and the suspension of the Sacraments. The 
Jesuits and Capuchin friars, for obeying the orders of 
the pope, had been banished from the Venetian ter- 
ritories ; and the ablest pens, particularly that of Paul 
Sarpi, were employed to determine, after an accurate and 
impartial inquiry, the true limits of the Ptoman pontiff's 
jurisdiction and authority. This movement, which threat- 
ened a separation of the church of Venice from the church 
of Rome, was viewed with interest by many members of 
the church of England, but by none more than by Bedell. 
He translated into Italian the English Prayer Book, 
which was so favourably received by the seven divines, 
appointed by the republic to preach against the pope, 
that they were determined to take it as a model for their 
own, had they been able to establish the independence 
of their church. 

Bedell at this time became acquainted also with the 
celebrated Antonio de Dominis, archbishop of Spalato, 
whom he assisted by correcting his well known book, " De 
Republica Ecclesiastica." 

On his return to England he brought with him the 
manuscript of father Pauls history of the interdict and 
inquisition, his history of the council of Trent, and a large 
collection of letters on the controversy in which Paul bore 
so conspicuous a part; and retiring to his cure at St 
Edmondsbury, he there employed himself in translating 
portions of them into latin. Here he married the widow 
of the recorder of the town. In 1615 he was presented 
to the living of Horningsheath, and in 1627 he was unani- 
mously elected provost of Trinity college, Dublin : after 
remaining in this post for two years, by the interest of 
Laud, then bishop of London, and Sir Thomas Jermyn, 
he was nominated to the sees of Kilmore and Ardagh, 
being then in his fifty-ninth year. 

BEDELL. 213 

He found the church of Ireland in great disorder, and 
applied himself with vigour to reform the abuses in his 
own dioceses. He began with that of plurality of bene- 
fices. To this end he convened his clergy, and, in a 
sermon, laid before them the institution, nature, and 
duties of the ministerial employment, froin the Scriptures 
and the fathers, and after sermon, discoursed to them 
upon the same subject in latin, and exhorted them to 
reform that abuse. To prevail on them the better, he 
told them he resolved to shew them an example in parting 
with one of his bishoprics, and he accordingly resigned 
Ardagh. He made several regulations with respect to 
residence, was extremely watchful of the conduct of the 
clergy, and no less circumspect in his own behaviour. His 
ordinations were public and solemn. He preached and ad- 
ministered the Holy Sacrament on such occasions himself. 
He never ordained any person to priests orders till a year 
after his having been made deacon, that he might know 
how he had behaved during that time. He wrote certifi- 
cates of ordination and other instruments with his own 
hand, and suffered none who received them to pay any 
fees. When he had brought things to such a length, that 
his clergy were willing to assist him in the great work of 
reformation, he convened a synod in September, 1638, in 
which he made many canons which are still extant. There 
were some who regarded this synod as an illegal assembly, 
and thought that his presuming to make canons was 
against law, so that there was some talk of bringing him 
before the star-chamber, or high-commission court ; but 
his archdeacon, afterwards archbishop of Cashel, gave such 
an account of the matter as satisfied the state. Arch- 
bishop Usher said on this occasion to those who were very 
earnest for bringing him to answer for his conduct, You 
had better let him alone, lest, if when provoked, he 
should say much more for himself, than any of his accu- 
sers can say against him. Bedell having observed that 
the ecclesiastical court in his diocese was a great abuse, 
being governed by a lay chancellor who had bought the 

214 BEDELL. 

place from his predecessor, and for that reason thought he 
had a right to all the profits he could raise : removed the 
chancellor, and resuming the jurisdiction of a bishop, sat 
in his own courts and heard causes with a select number 
of his clergy, by whose advice he gave sentence. The 
chancellor upon this brought a suit against the bishop 
into chancery, for invading his office. Bolton, the lord 
chancellor of Ireland, confirmed the chancellors right, 
and gave him a hundred pounds costs against the bishop; 
and when Bedell asked him how he could give such an 
unjust decree, he answered, that all his father had left 
him was a register's place, and therefore he thought he 
was bound to support those courts, which must be ruined 
if some check was not given to the bishop's proceedings. 
The chancellor, however, gave him no further disturbance, 
nor did he ever call for his costs, but named a surrogate, 
with orders to obey the bishop. Bishop Bedell was no per- 
secutor of papists, nor did he approve of those who made 
use of harsh expressions against popery. In an extract of 
one of Bedell's sermons given us by bishop Burnet, we 
meet with the following passage : "It is not the storm of 
words, but the strength of reasons, that shall stay a waver- 
ing judgment from errors, &c; when that like a tempest is 
overblown, the tide of others' examples will carry other 
men to do as the most do ; but these like so many anchors 
will stick, and not come again. Besides our calling is to 
deal with errors, not to disgrace the man with scolding 
words. It is said of Alexander, I think, when he overheard 
one of his soldiers railing lustily on Darius his enemy, 
he reproved him, and added, Friend, I entertain thee to 
fight against Darius, not to revile him. Truly it may be 
well thought that those that take this course shall find but 
small thanks at Christ's our captain's hands, and it is not 
unlike but he would say to them, were he here on earth 
again ; ' Masters, I would you should refute popery and 
set yourselves against antichrist my enemy, with all the 
discoloured sects and heresies, that fight under his banner 
against me, and not call him and his troops all to nought !' 

BEDELL. 215 

And this is my poor opinion concerning our dealing with 
the papists themselves, perchance differing from men of 
great note in Christ's family, Mr Luther, and Mr Calvin. 
and others ; but yet we must live by rules, not examples ; 
and they were men, who perhaps by complexion or other- 
wise were given too much to anger and heat." He la- 
boured to convert the more respectable of the popish 
clergy, and in this he had great success. He procured a 
translation of the Common Prayer into Irish, and caused 
it to be read in his cathedral every Sunday. The new 
testament had also been translated by William Daniel, 
archbishop of Tuam, and at the bishop s desire, the old 
testament was first translated into the same language by 
Mr King; but as King was ignorant of the original tongue, 
and did it from the English, Bedell himself revised and 
compared it with the Hebrew, and the best translations. 
He took care likewise to have some of St Chrysostom's 
and Leo's homilies in commendation of the Scriptures, 
translated both into English and into Irish, that the 
common people might see, that in the opinion of the 
ancient fathers, they had not only a right to read the 
Scriptures as well as the clergy, but that it was their duty 
so to do. When he found the work was finished, he re- 
solved to be at the expense of printing it, but his design 
was interrupted by a cruel and unjust prosecution carried 
on against the translator, who not only lost his living, but 
was also attacked in his character. The bishop supported 
Mr King as far as he was able, and the translation being 
finished, he would have had it printed in his own house, 
if the troubles of Ireland had not prevented it ; it hap- 
pened fortunately, however, that the translation escaped 
the hands of the rebels, and was afterwards printed at 
the expense of Mr Robert Boyle. The bishop always 
desired to make proselytes by persuasion, and not compul- 
sion ; and it was his opinion, that protestants would agree 
better, if they could be brought to understand each other. 
There were some Lutherans at Dublin, who, for not coming 
to church and taking the Holy Sacrament, were cited into 

216 BEDELL. 

the archbishop's consistory, upon which they desired time 
to write to their divines in Germany, which was granted ; 
and when their answers came, they contained some excep- 
tions to the doctrines of the Church, as not explaining the 
real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, with sufficient 
accuracy : to which bishop Bedell wrote an answer, and 
the German theologians, who saw it, advised their coun- 
trymen to join in communion with the Church, which they 
accordingly did. 

When the rebellion broke out in Ireland, in October, 
1641, the bishop at first did not feel the violence of 
its effects, for even the rebels and dissenters had con- 
ceived a great veneration for him, and they declared 
he should be the last Englishman they would drive 
out of Ireland. His was the only house in the county 
of Cavan that was unviolated, and it was filled with 
the people who fled to him for shelter. About the 
middle of December, however, the rebels, pursuant 
to orders received from their council of state at Kil- 
kenny, required him to dismiss the people that were 
with him, which he refused to do, declaring he would 
share the same fate with the rest. Upon this they seized 
him, his two sons, and Mr Clogy, who had married his 
daughter-in-law, and carried them prisoners to the castle 
of Cloughboughter, surrounded by a deep water, where 
they put them all, except the bishop, in irons ; the bishop, 
however, ceased not to give spiritual consolation to those 
with him, and on Christmas-day administered the Holy 
Communion to them in prison. After being confined for 
about three weeks, the bishop and his two sons, and Mr 
Clogy, were exchanged for two of the O'Rourkes; but though 
it was agreed that they should be safely conducted to 
Dublin, yet the rebels would not suffer them to be carried 
out of the country, but sent them to the house of Denis 
O'Sheriden. The bishop died soon after he came here, 
on the 7th of February, 1611, his death being chiefly 
occasioned by his late imprisonment and the weight of 
sorrows which lay upon his mind. Nearly all his writings 


perished in the rebellion. In 1713 there was printed a 
poem written by him in the style of Spenser, entitled, A 
Protestant Memorial, or the Shepherd's Tale of the Powder 
Plot. It was printed from a manuscript found in the 
library of Dr Dillingham; and in 1742 there were pub- 
lished at Dublin some original letters concerning the steps 
taken towards a reformation of religion in Venice, on the 
quarrel between that state and pope Paul the Fifth. — 
Burnet's Life of Bedell. Boyle s Works. 

Bedford, Arthur, was born at Tiddenham in Glou- 
cestershire, in 1668. At the age of sixteen he became a 
commoner of Brazenose-college, Oxford, where he took his 
masters degree in 1691. The year following he was pre- 
sented to the vicarage of Temple Church, Bristol, from 
whence some years afterwards he removed to Newton St 
Loe in Somersetshire ; but in 1724 he was chosen chaplain 
to the Haberdasher's Hospital, London, where he died in 
1745. His works are — 1. Serious Pieflections on the abuse 
of the Stage, 8vo. This was followed by some other tracts 
on the same subject. 2. The Temple of Music, 8vo. 3. 
The great Abuse of Music, 8vo. 4. An Essay on singing 
David's Psalms, 8vo. 5. Animadversions on Sir Isaac 
Newton's Chronology, 8vo. 1728. 6. A Sermon at St 
Botolph's, Aldgate, against Stage-plays, 1730, 8vo. 7. Ob- 
servations on a Sermon preached by the Rev. A. S. Catcott, 
before the Corporation of Bristol, 8vo. 1736. 8. An Ex- 
amination of Mr Hutchinson's Remarks, and Mr Catcott's 
Answer to the Observations, &c. 8vo. 1738. 9. Scripture 
Chronology, folio, 1741. 10. Eight Sermons on the Doc- 
trine of the Trinity, at Lady Mover's Lecture, 8vo. 1740. 
11. The Doctrine of Justification by Faith stated, 8vo, 
1741. 12. Hora3 Mathematics vacuas, or a Treatise on 
the Golden and Ecliptic Numbers, 8vo. 1743. — Ellis 's 
Hist, of Shoreditch. Republic of Letters. 

Bedford, Hilkiah, was born in London in 1663, and 

VOL. IT. t 


educated at St John's college, Cambridge, on the foun- 
dation of Mr Plat, his maternal grandfather. He after- 
wards obtained a fellowship, took his degree in arts, 
and, on taking orders, was presented to a living in 
Lincolnshire, of which he was deprived at the Revo- 
lution for refusing to take the oaths of allegiance to 
the prince of Orange, when he had the honour of be- 
coming chaplain to bishop Ken. He then kept a board- 
ing-house for the Westminster scholars ; but in 1714 
he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment and a 
heavy fine for publishing the Hereditary Right of the 
Crown of England asserted, the real author of which was 
George Harbin. Mr Bedford translated an answer to 
Fontenelle's History of Oracles, and Dr Barwick s Life, 
into English. He died in 1734. — Nichols's Literary Anec- 
dotes. Coles MSS. Athena in Brit. Mus. 

Bedford, Thomas, the son of Hilkiah Bedford, was 
educated at Westminster school, from whence he removed 
to St John's college, Cambridge, but never took any 
degree on account of his attachment to the nonjurors, 
among whom he exercised the ministry at Compton in 
Derbyshire, where he died in 1773. He was at one time 
chaplain in the family of Sir John Cotton, Bart., with 
whom he sojourned at Angers in France. He published, 
in 1732, Simeonis monachi Dunelmensis libellus de 
exordio atque procursu Dunelmensis ecclesise, 8vo. He 
also wrote an historical Catechism, 8vo. 1712. — Nichols's 
Life of Bomjer. 

Behmen, or Bozhmen, Jacob, designated by his admirers 
as the German theosophist, was born near Gorlitz, in Upper 
Lusatia, in 1575. He was a shoemaker by trade, and being 
of a serious turn of mind, employed his leisure hours in 
reading religious books, besides which he studied alchemy. 
In 1612 he published a treatise entitled " Aurora ; or, The 
Rising of the Sun," which gave such offence to George 

BEHMEN. 210 

Richter, dean of Gorlitz, that he complained of it to the 
magistrates, who commanded Jacob to leave off writing, 
and stick to his last. He obeyed, and was silent for seven 
years, when his reputation as a practical chemist gave him 
encouragement to renew his theological revelations, and 
during the remaining five years of his life he wrote above 
twenty books, the best of which was "A Table of his 
Principles ; or, A Key to his Works." Of Behmen, the 
following is the account given by Mosheim : " He had a 
natural propensity towards the investigation of mysteries, 
and was fond of abstruse and intricate inquiries of every 
kind ; and having, partly by books and partly by conversa- 
tion with certain physicians, acquired some knowledge of 
the doctrine of Robert Fludd and the Pcosicracians, which 
was propagated in Germany with great ostentation during 
this century, he struck out of the element of fire, by the 
succours of imagination, a species of theology much more 
obscure than the numbers of Pythagoras, or the intricacies 
of Heraclitus. Some have bestowed high praises on this 
enthusiast, on account of his piety, integrity, and sincere 
love of truth and virtue ; and we shall not pretend to con- 
tradict these encomiums. But such as carry their admi- 
ration of his doctrine so far as to honour him with the 
character of an inspired messenger of heaven, or even of 
a judicious and wise philosopher, must be themselves 
deceived and blinded in a very high degree ; for never did 
there reign such obscurity and confusion in the writings 
of any mortal, as in the miserable productions of Jacob 
Behmen, which exhibit a motley mixture of chemical 
terms, crude visions, and mystic jargon. Among other 
dreams of a disturbed and eccentric fancy, he entertained 
the following chimerical notions : ' That the divine grace 
operates by the same rules, and follows the same methods, 
that the divine providence observes in the natural world : 
and that the minds of men are purged from their vices and 
corruptions in the same way that metals are purified from 
their dross ;' and this maxim was the principle of his fire 
theology. He died at Gorlitz, in 1623. His works were 

220 BELL. 

printed at Amsterdam in 1730, under the title of Theo-so- 
phia Revelata. Whatever may have been the errors and 
eccentricities of Behmen's genius, there must be more of 
depth in his system than his opponents seem willing to 
admit, since it was able to bring into captivity such a 
mind as that of William Law, who employed the last 
years of his life in preparing a new edition, with a trans- 
lation, of Behmen's works, which appeared after his death 
in two vols 4to. According to Dr Henry More the sect of 
the quakers have borrowed many of their doctrines from 
Behmen. — Life by Okeley. Mosheim. 

Bell, William, was Educated at Magdalen college, 
Cambridge, at which university he obtained several prizes. 
He is entitled to the grateful regard of his alma mater 
for having established eight scholarships for the orphan 
sons of poor clergymen. Before his demise he had trans- 
ferred £15,200, in the three per cents to the university 
for this object. His other charities were very considerable. 
He died in 1816 a prebendary of Westminster. He pub- 
lished some works, but they were of little value, and are 
now forgotten. — Gentlemen s Magazine. 

Bell, Andrew, was born at St Andrews in 1753, and 
in 1789 became chaplain to Fort St George, at Madras. 
He there introduced a system of education relating to the 
management of classes, which was subsequently adopted 
in the National Society for the education of the poor. It 
has been much modified, but is very far still from being 
what religious persons would desire. A dissenter, named 
Lancaster, contended with Dr Bell for the honour of 
having originated the plan ; but the general current of 
opinion, as well as documentary evidence, awards the 
honour, such as it is, of its introduction, to Dr Bell. 
Dr Bell was a prebendary of Westminster, and master of 
Sherborn hospital, Durham. He died in 1832. He had 
amassed an immense fortune, and left £120,000 in sup- 


port of national institutions and public charities. — Annual 

Bellarmine, Robert, was born at Monte-Puluano in 
Tuscany, October 4th, 154-2; his mother was sister to pope 
Marcellus II. He became a Jesuit in 1560, at the period 
when the members of that order were exerting themselves 
to the utmost to paralyze the reformation ; and his con- 
nection with that order gave the direction to his extra- 
ordinary controversial talents. Such was the lead which 
he took as a controversialist, that it was at him especially 
that the most eminent protestant polemics directed their 
attacks ; and by so doing they proclaimed him to be what 
the more timid or more violent of his own communion 
were slow to admit, the most able and judicious advocate 
of the Romish cause. Although his prejudices as a Ro- 
manist frequently obscured his vision of the truth, yet his 
candour is admitted by all parties : — by papists, who com- 
plained that he exposed their weak points ; and by protest- 
ants, who insinuated that he must in secret have inclined 
to their own opinions. His treatise de Romano Pontifico 
was condemned by pope Sextus V. as injurious to the 
Roman see, because he referred the papal authority to an 
indirect rather than a direct grant of Christ; and yet; 
though falling under the censure of the more violent parti* 
zans o. v " papal pretensions, his assertions with respect to 
papal power were regarded in France as ultra-montane ? 
and his treatise against Barclay was condemned in L610 
by the parliament of Paris. Under the assumed name of 
Matthew Tortus he attacked king James ; when he found 
in bishop Andrewes, who came forward to vindicate the 
king, an opponent very different from those with whom 
he had usually to contend, and he must have learned 
from him that there is a catholic via media between 
Romanism on the one hand and mere protestantism on 
the other. 

But Bellarmine was not merely a controversialist ; he 
t 2 

aaa bellarmine. 

was distinguished also for his eloquence as a preacher, and 
indeed such were his powers in this respect, that he re- 
ceived a license to preach, before he had arrived at the 
canonical age. Having exerted himself as a preacher in 
Italy, he proceeded afterwards to Flanders, and in 1569 
was ordained priest at Ghent, by the celebrated Cornelius 
Jansen ; in the year following he had the honour of being 
the first Jesuit who had ever been appointed professor of 
theology in the university of Louvain. Here his lectures 
were attended, and his sermons admired not only by 
Romanists, but even by protestants. 

After having lived seven years in the Low Countries, he 
returned to Italy, and in 1576, began to read lectures at 
Rome on points of controversy. This he did with so much 
applause, that Sixtus V. appointed him to accompany his 
legate into France, in 1590, as a person who might be of 
great service, in case of any demand for controversial eru- 
dition. He returned to Rome about ten months after, 
where he had several offices conferred on him by his own 
society as well as by the pope, and in the year 1599, was 
created a cardinal. Three years after he had the arch- 
bishopric of Capua conferred upon him, which he resigned 
in 1605, when the pope, Paul V. desired to keep him near 
his person, his conscience not permitting him to keep a 
church upon which he could not reside. He was employed 
in the affairs of the court of Rome, till the year 1621, 
when, finding himself declining in health, he left the 
Vatican, and retired to the house belonging to the noviciate 
of the Jesuits of St Andrew, where he died the 17th of 
September, 1621. It appeared on the day of his funeral, 
that he was regarded as a saint. The Swiss guards be- 
longing to the pope, were placed round his coffin, in order 
to keep off the crowd, which pressed to touch and kiss the 
body : and every thing he made use of was carried away, 
as a venerable relic. 

At the end of the century it was proposed in the court 
of Rome to canonize him, and informations were taken 


according to custom to make proof of his sanctity ; which 
having been reported to the congregration of cardinals 
and consultors on the 7th of July, 1677, of seventeen 
cardinals, ten voted for his canonization, while the rest 
thought the proofs insufficient, and of nineteen consultors, 
sixteen were for his beatification, and three of a contrary 

Such a proceeding is justly offensive to those who hold 
Catholic as distinguished from Romish principles. — Dupin. 
Moreri. Butler. Alegambe BibUoth. Script. Soc. 

Belsham, Thomas, was born in 1750, at Bedford, where 
his father was a dissenting preacher of the presbyterian 
persuasion. From Calvinism Belsham passed on to 
socinianism. He contended resolutely for the principle 
that the Bible and the Bible only, interpreted according to 
each man's private judgment, is the religion of protestants; 
and according to his private judgment, the Bible taught 
what he called unitarianism. He was elected in 1794 by 
a congregation at Hackney, to preach to them, and he con- 
tinued to be their preacher till 1805, when he went to the 
meeting-house in Essex-street, London. He died in 1829. 
He was principally concerned in what his party called the 
improved version of the New Testament, which was pub- 
lished in 1808 ; a work prepared by persons so deficient 
in scholarship, as to have been discreditable to the society 
under whose auspices it was published. Among those 
who maintained the right of private judgment, as among 
the " unitarians" generally, Belsham held during the end 
of the last, and the beginning of the present century, a 
distinguished place. — Annual Biog. 

Benedict, Saint, was born in 480, in the duchy of 
Spoleto, and was educated at Rome. Disgusted by the 
dissipation of his fellow students at Rome, he retired to the 
desert of Subiaco, about forty miles from that city, where, 
concealed in a cave, he was supplied with food by a hermit 
named Romanus, who used to descend to him by a rope. 


This life he pursued for three years, during which time 
he employed himself in giving instructions to the shep- 
herds who frequented the neighbourhood, and at length 
was chosen by the monks of a neighbouring monastery to 
be their abbot. Here his severity and asceticism caused 
such dissatisfaction, that it is said that the monks attempt- 
ed to poison him ; indeed the Romish legends assert that 
he was only saved by a miracle. At all events, he thought 
fit to retire from his post, and on returning to his solitude, 
was followed by many persons, who placed themselves 
under his direction, and in a short time he was able to 
erect twelve monasteries, each containing twelve monks, 
and all being under his direction. The monasteries of 
the west had adopted a very lax rule, and Benedict was 
determined to introduce a strict one. But he met with 
much opposition from a faction headed by a neighbouring 
clergyman. In all ages the attempt to lead a strict and 
ascetic life has been met by the fierce opposition of those 
who think themselves injured if others endeavour to lead 
a more evangelical life than they : and such was the 
opposition to which Benedict was exposed, that in 528 he 
and his monks were obliged to remove from Subiaco. He 
retired to Monte Cassino, where idolatry still prevailed, 
and a temple stood to Apollo. He converted the people, 
destroyed the image of Apollo, and erected two chapels on 
the mountain. Here also he founded a monastery, which 
became the model for all the monasteries of Western 
Europe. It was here too that he composed his " Regula 
Monachorum,"' of which Gregory the great, speaks in 
terms of high approbation. We are indebted to Mr Mait- 
land for the following translation of the prologue and the 
fourth chapter : — 

" Hear, my son, the precepts of a master; and incline 
the ear of thine heart ; and cheerfully receive, and affec- 
tually fulfil, the admonition of an affectionate father ; that, 
by the labour of obedience, thou mayest return to him, 
from whom thou hast departed by the sloth of disobedi- 
ence. To thee therefore my discourse is now directed — 


whosoever, renouncing the desires of self, and about to 
serve as a soldier of the Lord Christ, the true King, 
dost assume the most powerful and noble arms of 

" In the first place, you must, with most urgent prayer, 
entreat that whatsoever good thing you take in hand, may 
thr ugh Him be brought to completion ; that He who hath 
condescended now to reckon us in the number of His 
sons, may not be obliged to grieve over our ill conduct. 
For He is ever to be served by us, with those good things 
which are His own; so served by us as that not only He 
may not, as an angry father, disinherit his sons, — but 
that He may not, as a master who is to be feared, be so 
incensed by our sins, as to deliver over to eternal punish- 
ment, as most wicked servants, those who would not follow 
Him to glory. 

" Let us, however, at length arise ; for the Scripture 
arouses us, saying, ' That now it is high time to awake 
out of sleep;' and, our eyes being opened to the divine 
light, let us hear with astonished ears the voice which 
every day admonishes us, ' To day if ye will hear his 
voice, harden not your hearts ;' and again, ■ He that hath 
ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the 
churches;' and what saith He? 'Come, ye children, 
hearken unto me : I will teach you the fear of the Lord' — 
' Run while ye have the light of life, lest the darkness of 
death overtake you.' 

•• And the Lord, seeking for his workman among the 
multitude of the people, whom He thus addresses, saith 
again, { What man is he that desireth life, and will see 
good days'?' And if when you hear this you answer ' I,' 
God saith unto you, ' If thou wilt have life, keep thy 
tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile. 
Depart from evil, and do good ; seek peace and pursue it.' 
And when you shall have done this, ' My eyes are upon 
you, and My ears are towards your prayers ; and before ye 
call upon Me I will say you ' Here am I.' " Most 
dear brethren, what is sweeter than this voice of the Lord 


inviting us ? Behold, in His mercy, the Lord points out 
to us the way of life. 

" Our loins therefore being girded, and our feet shod 
with faith and the observance of good works, let us, under 
the guidance of the gospel, go forth on His ways, that we 
may be counted worthy to see Him who hath called us, in 
His kingdom. In the tabernacle of Whose kingdom, if we 
desire to dwell, we can by no means attain our desire, 
except by running in the way of good works. But let us 
inquire of the Lord with the prophet, and say unto Him, 
1 Lord, who shall dwell in Thy tabernacle, and who shall 
rest in Thy holy mountain ? After this inquiry, brethren, 
let us hear the Lord replying, and shewing us the way of 
His tabernacle, and saying, ' He that walketh uprightly, 
and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his 
heart ; he that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth 
evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his 
neighbour.' Who turning away the eyes of his heart from 
the wicked Devil who tempts him, and from his tempta- 
tion, hath brought him to nought, and hath taken the 
young thoughts which he hath bred and dashed them to 
pieces on Christ. Who, fearing the Lord, are not puffed 
up by their good works ; but who, considering that those 
good things which are in them could not be wrought by 
themselves, but by the Lord, magnify the Lord who work- 
eth in them, saying with the prophet, ' Not unto us, O 
Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory.' Like 
as the apostle Paul reckoned nothing of his preaching, 
saying, ' By the grace of God I am what I am ;' and 
again he says, 5 He that glorifieth let him glory in the 

" Hence also it is, that our Lord saith in the gospel, 
• Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth 
them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his 
house upon a rock : and the floods came, and the winds 
blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was 
founded upon a rock.' While the Lord does all this, He 
expects every day that we should respond to His holy 


admonitions, by our actions. Therefore it is, that the 
days of this life are extended as a respite for the emenda- 
tion of what is evil ; as the apostle says, ' Knowest thou 
not that the long suffering of God leadeth thee to repent- 
ance?' For the merciful God hath said, "I desire not 
the death of a sinner, but that he should be converted 
and live.' 

" When therefore, my brethren, we inquire of the Lord, 
' who shall abide in Thy tabernacle ?' we thus hear the 
rule of habitation ; and if we fulfil the duty of an inhabit- 
ant, we shall be heirs of the kingdom of heaven. There- 
fore our hearts and bodies are to be prepared to go forth 
to"the warfare of holy obedience to the commandments ; 
and, because it is impossible to our nature, let us ask the 
Lord of His grace that He would assist us with His help. 
And if, flying from the pains of hell, we desire to obtain 
eternal life, while yet there is opportunity and we are in 
this body, and space is afforded to fulfil all these things 
by this life of light, we must now run and labour for that 
which shall profit us for ever. 

" We must, therefore, institute a school of service to the 
Lord ; in which institution we trust that we shall appoint 
nothing harsh or burdensome. If, however, anything a 
little severe should, on reasonable grounds of equity, be 
enjoined for the correction of vices, and the preservation 
of charity, do not in sudden alarm fly from the way of 
safety, which can only be begun by a narrow entrance. 
In the progress, however, of our conversation and faith, 
the heart being enlarged with the ineffable sweetness of 
love, we run the way of God's commandments, so that 
never departing from His governance, remaining under His 
teaching in the monastery until death, we through patience 
are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that we may be counted 
worthy to be partakers of His kingdom." 

The first chapter of the rule is on various kinds of 
monks — the second, on the qualifications and duties of 
an abbot — the third, on the duty of the abbot to take 
counsel with the brethren — and the fourth is headed, 


" Quae sint instrumenta bonomm operum." This title 
has given some trouble to commentators ; and the reader 
may translate it as he pleases. " It is not my business," 
says Mr Maitland, "to criticise it, especially as the chapter 
itself is intelligible enough. It contains seventy-two brief 
injunctions, from whence we may form some general 
opinion as to what those who bound themselves by this 
rule did, and did not, undertake. Most of the other 
seventy- two chapters of the rule consist of regulations 
respecting the organization and management of their 
society, which would, of course, occupy the most room ; 
but it seems to me that this one chapter should at least 
qualify the statements of those who profess to have found 
nothing but a body of heartless forms. 

" 1. In the first place, to love the Lord God with the 
whole heart, whole soul, whole strength. 2. Then his 
neighbour as himself. 3. Then not to kill. 4. Then not 
to commit adultery. 5, Not to steal. 6. Not to covet. 
7. Not to bear false witness. 8. To honour all men. 
9. And what any one would not have done to him, let him 
not do to another. 10. To deny himself, that he may fol- 
low Christ. 11. To chasten the body. 12. To renounce 
luxuries. 13. To love fasting. 14. To relieve the poor. 
15. To clothe the naked. 16. To visit the sick. 17. To 
bury the dead. 18. To help in tribulation. 19. To con- 
sole the afflicted. 20. To disengage himself from worldly 
affairs. 21. To set the love of Christ before all other 
things. 22. Not to give way to anger. 23. Not to bear 
any grudge. 24. Not to harbour deceit in the heart. 
25. Not to make false peace. 26. Not to forsake charity. 
27. Not to swear, lest haply he perjure himself. 28. To 
utter truth from his heart and his mouth. 29. Not to 
return evil for evil. 30. Not to do injuries; and to bear 
them patiently. 31. To love his enemies. 32. Not to 
curse again those who curse him ; but rather to bless 
them. 33. To endure persecutions for righteousness' sake. 
34. Not to be proud. 35. Not given to wine. 36. Not 
gluttonous. 37. Not addicted to sleep. 38. Not sluggish. 


39. Not given to murmur. 40. Not a slanderer. 41. To 
commit his hope to God. 4 2. When he sees any thing 
good in himself, to attribute it to God, and not to himsel f. 
43. But let him always know, that which is evil in his 
own doing, and impute it to himself. 44. To fear the day 
of judgment. 45. To dread Hell. 46. To desire eternal 
life, with all spiritual longing. 47. To have the expecta- 
tion of death every day before his eyes. 48. To watch 
over his actions at all times. 49. To know certainly that, 
in all places, the eye of God is upon him. 50. Those evil 
thoughts which come into his heart immediately to dash 
to pieces on Christ. 51. And to make them known to his 
spiritual senior. 5 '2. To keep his lips from evil and 
wicked discourse. 53. Not to be fond of much talking. 

54. Not to speak vain words, or such as provoke laughter. 

55. Not to love much or violent laughter. 56. To give 
willing attention to the sacred readings. 57. To pray 
frequently. 58. Every day to confess his past sins to 
God, in prayer, with tears and groaning ; from thence- 
forward to reform as to those sins. 59. Not to fulfil the 
desires of the flesh ; to hate self-will. 60. In all things to 
obey the commands of the abbot, even though he himself 
(which God forbid) should do otherwise ; remembering our 
Lord's command, ' What they say, do ; but what they do, 
do ye not.' 61. Not to desire to be called a saint before 
he is one, but first to be one that he may be truly called 
one. 62. Every day to fulfil the commands of God in 
action. 63. To love chastity. 64. To hate nobody. 
65. To have no jealousy; to indulge no envy. 66. Not 
to love contention. 67. To avoid self-conceit. 68. To 
reverence seniors. 69. To love juniors. 70. To pray for 
enemies, in the love of Christ. 71. After a disagreement, 
to be reconciled before the going down of the sun. 
72. And never to despair of the mercy of God." 

These rules have given rise to many disputes among the 
disciples of St Benedict, which are of no interest to the 
general reader or ordinary Christian. 

VOL. II. u 


The date of his death is differently given by ancient 
writers : by some it is placed as early as 542, by others as 
late as 547. — Mabillon. Moreri. Fosbrook. Maitland. 

Benedict, Biscop, was born about the year 628, being 
descended frem a noble lineage of the Angles, and as Bede 
pleasantly remarks, "being by corresponding dignity of 
mind worthy to be exalted into the company of angels.'''' 
This article will be taken entirely from venerable Bede's 
Vita Beatorum Abbatum Bede informs us that Benedict 
Biscop was the minister of Oswy king of Northumbria, 
and by his gift enjoyed an estate suitable to his rank ; 
but at the age of twenty-five, he relinquished a secular 
life and made a journey to Rome, the capital at that 
time of the civilized world. On his return home he 
exerted himself to establish among his own countrymen 
the precepts of ecclesiastical life, which he had seen and 
admired in Italy. In 665 he made a second journey to 
Rome, and after some months went to the island of Lerins, 
where he became an inmate of the monastery, and was 
regularly initiated into all the requirements of conventual 
life. From Lerins he once more returned to Rome, which 
he reached at an important juncture : " at that time," says 
the venerable Bede, " Egbert, king of Kent, had sent out of 
Britain a man who had been elected to the office of bishop, 
Wighard by name, who had been adequately taught by the 
Roman disciples of the blessed pope Gregory in Kent on 
every topic of Church discipline ; but the king wished him 
to be ordained bishop at Rome, in order that, having him 
for bishop of his own nation and language, he might him- 
self, as well as his people, be the more thoroughly master 
of the words and mysteries of the holy faith ; as he would 
then have these administered, not through an interpreter, 
but from the hands and by the tongue of a kinsman and 
fellow-countryman. But Wighard, on coming to Rome 
died of a disease, with all his attendants, before he 
had received the dignity of bishop. Now the pope, 


that the embassy of the faithful might not fail through 
the death of their ambassadors, called a council, and 
appointed one of his Church to send as archbishop into 
Britain. This was Theodore, a man deep in all secu- 
lar and ecclesiastical learning, whether Greek or Latin ; 
and to him was given, as a colleague and counsellor, a 
man equally strenuous and prudent, the abbot Hadrian. 
Perceiving also that the reverend Benedict would become 
a man of wisdom, industry, piety, and nobility of mind, 
he committed to him the newly ordained bishop, with his 
followers, enjoining him to abandon the travel which he 
had undertaken for Christ's sake ; and with a higher good 
in view, to return home to his country, and bring into it 
that teacher of wisdom whom it had so earnestly wished 
for, and to be to him an interpreter and guide, both on the 
journey thither, and afterwards, upon his arrival, when he 
should begin to preach. Benedict did as he was com- 
manded ; they came to Kent, and were joyfully received 
there ; Theodore ascended his episcopal throne, and 
Benedict took upon himself to rule the monastery of the 
blessed apostle Peter, of which, afterwards, Hadrian be- 
came abbot. 

He ruled the monastery for two years ; and then suc- 
cessfully, as before, accomplished a third voyage from 
Britain to Piome, and brought back a large number of 
books on sacred literature, which he had either bought at 
a price or received as gifts from his friends. On his 
return he arrived at Vienne, where he took possession of 
such as he had entrusted his friends to purchase for him. 
When he had come home, he determined to go to the 
court of Conwalh, king of the West Saxons, whose friend- 
ship and services he had already more than once expe- 
rienced. But Conwalh died suddenly about this time, and 
he therefore directed his course to his native province. 
He came to the court of Egfrid, king of Northumberland, 
and gave an account of all that he had done since in youth 
he had left his country. He made no secret of his zeal 
for religion, and showed what ecclesiastical or monastic 


instructions he had received at Rome and elsewhere. He 
displayed the holy volumes and relics of Christ's blessed 
apostles and martyrs, which he had brought, and found 
such favour in the eyes of the king, that he forthwith gave 
him seventy hides of land out of his own estates, and 
ordered a monastery to be built thereon for the first pastor 
of his church. This was done at the mouth of the river 
Were, on the left bank, in the 674th year of our Lord's 
incarnation, in the second indiction, and in the fourth 
year of king Egfrid's reign. 

After the interval of a year, Benedict crossed the sea 
into Gaul, and no sooner asked than he obtained and 
carried back with him some masons to build him a church 
in the Roman style, which he had always admired. So 
much zeal did he show from his love to Saint Peter, in 
whose honour he was building it, that within a year from 
the time of laying the foundation, you might have seen 
the roof on and the solemnity of the mass Celebrated 
therein. When the work was drawing to completion, he 
sent messengers to Gaul to fetch makers of glass, (more 
properly artificers,) which was at this time unknown in 
Britain, that they might glaze the windows of his church, 
with the cloisters and dining rooms. This was done, and 
they came, and not only finished the work required, but 
taught the English nation their handicraft, which was well 
adapted for enclosing the lanterns of the church, and for 
the vessels required for various uses. All other things neces- 
sary for the service of the church and the altar, the sacred 
vessels, and the vestments, because they could not be pro- 
cured in England, he took especial care to buy and bring 
home from foreign parts. 

" Some decorations and muniments there were, which 
could not be procured even in Gaul, and these the pious 
founder determined to fetch from Rome ; for which pur- 
pose, after he had formed the rule for his monastery, he 
made his fourth voyage to Rome, and returned loaded 
with more abundant spiritual merchandise than before. 
In the first place, he brought back a large quantity of 


books of all kinds ; secondly, a great number of relics of 
Christ's apostles and martyrs, all likely to bring a bless- 
ing on many an English church; thirdly, he introduced 
the Roman mode of chanting, singing, and ministering in 
the church, by obtaining permission from pope Agatho to 
take back with him John, the arch-chanter of the church 
of St Peter, and abbot of the monastery of St Martin, to 
teach the English. This John, when he arrived in 
England, not only communicated instruction by teaching 
personally, but left behind him numerous writings, which 
are still preserved in the library of the same monastery. 
In the fourth place, Benedict brought with him a thing by 
no means to be despised, namely, a letter of privilege from 
pope Agatho, which he had procured, not only with the con- 
sent, but by the request and exhortation, of king Egfrid, and 
by which the monastery was rendered safe and secure for 
ever from foreign invasion. Fifthly, he brought with him 
pictures of sacred representations, to adorn the church of 
St Peter, which he had built ; namely, a likeness of the 
Virgin Mary and of the twelve apostles, with which he 
intended to adorn the central nave, on boarding placed 
from one wall to the other ; also some figures from eccles- 
iastical history for the south wall, and others from the 
Revelation of St John for the north wall ; so that every 
one who entered the church, even if they could not read, 
wherever they turned their eyes, might have before them 
the amiable countenance of Christ and his saints, though 
it were but in a picture, and with watchful minds might 
revolve on the benefits of our Lord's incarnation, and 
having before their eyes the perils of the last judgmeDt, 
might examine their hearts the more strictly on that 

In 682 he received a further donation of land from 
Egfrid, and upon this new estate he built the monastery 
of Jarrow, and placed therein seventeen monks under an 
abbot named Ceolfrid. About the same time he appointed 
a presbyter, Easterwine, to be joint abbot with himself of 

v 2 


St Peter's monasteiy, at Weremouth, that, with the help 
of this fellow soldier, he might sustain a burden otherwise 
too heavy for him. Soon after this he took his fifth and 
last journey to Rome, and as before, came back enriched 
with a further supply of ecclesiastical books and pictures, 
He brought with him, says Bede, pictures of the 
saints, as numerous as before. He also brought with him 
pictures out of our Lord's history, which he hung round 
the chapel of our Lady in the larger monastery; and 
others to adorn St Paul's church and monastery, ably 
describing the connexion of the Old and New Testament : 
as, for instance, Isaac bearing the wood for his own 
sacrifice, and Christ carrying the cross on which he was 
about to suffer, were placed side by side. Again, the 
serpent raised up by Moses in the desert was illustrated 
by the Son of Man exalted on the cross. Among other 
things, he brought two cloaks, all of silk, and of incom- 
parable workmanship, for which he received an estate of 
three hides on the south bank of the river Were, near 
its mouth, from king Alfrid, for he found on his return 
that Egfrid had been murdered during his absence. 

But, amid this prosperity, he found afflictions also 
awaiting his return. The venerable Easterwine, whom 
he had made abbot when he departed, and many of the 
brethren committed to his care, had died of a general 
pestilencei But for this loss he found some consolation in 
the good and reverend deacon, Sigfrid, whom the brethren 
and his co-abbot Ceolfrid had chosen to be his successor. 
He was a man well skilled in the knowledge of Holy 
Scripture, of most excellent manners, of wonderful con- 
tinence, and one in whom the virtues of the mind were 
in no small degree depressed by bodily infirmity, and the 
innocency of whose heart was tempered with a baneful 
and incurable affection of the lungs. 

Not long after, Benedict himself was seized by a 
disease. For, that the virtue of patience might be a 
trial of their religious zeal, the Divine Love laid both of 


them on the bed of temporal sickness, that when 
they had conquered their sorrows by death, He might 
cherish them for ever in heavenly peace and quietude. 
Benedict died of a palsy, which grew upon him for three 
whole years ; so that when he was dead in all his lower 
extremities, his upper and vital members, spared to show 
his patience and virtue, were employed in the midst of 
his Bufferings in giving thanks to the Author of his being, 
in praises to God, and exhortations to the brethren. He 
urged the brethren, when they came to see him, to observe 
the rule which he had given then. 'For,' said he, 'you 
cannot suppose that it was my own untaught heart which 
dictated this rule to you. I learnt it from seventeen 
monasteries, which I saw during my travels, and most 
approved of, and I copied these institutions thence for 
your benefit.' The large and noble library, which he had 
brought from Rome, and which was necessary for the 
edification of his church, he commanded to be kept entire, 
and neither by neglect to be injured or dispersed. But 
on one point he was most solicitous, in choosing an abbot, 
lest high birth, and not rather probity of life and doctrine, 
should be attended to. 'And I tell you of a truth,' said 
he, ' in the choice of two evils, it would be much more 
tolerable for me, if God so pleased, that this place, where- 
in I have built the monastery, should for ever become a 
desert, than that any carnal brother, who, as we know, 
walks not in the way of truth, should become abbot, and 
succeed me in its government. Wherefore, my brethren, 
beware, and never choose an abbot on account of his birth, 
nor from any foreign place ; but seek out, according to the 
rule of abbot Benedict the Great, and the decrees of our 
order, with common consent, from amongst your own 
company, whoever in virtue of life and wisdom of doctrine 
may be found fittest for this office ; and whomsoever you 
shall, by this unamious inquiry of Christian charity, prefer 
and choose, let him be made abbot, with the customary 
blessings, in the presence of the bishop. For those who 
after the flesh beget children of the flesh, must necessarily 


seek fleshly and earthly heirs to their fleshly and earthly 
inheritance ; but those who by the spiritual seed of the 
Word procreate spiritual sons to God, must of like neces- 
sity be spiritual in every thing that they do. Among their 
spiritual children, they think him the greatest who is 
possessed of the most abundant grace of the Spirit, in 
the same way as earthly parents consider their eldest as 
the principal one of their children, and prefer him to the 
others in dividing out their inheritance.' 

Nor must we, says Bede, omit to mention that the 
venerable abbot Benedict, to lessen the wearisomenessof the 
night, which from his illnes he often passed without sleep- 
ing, would frequently call a reader, and cause him to read 
aloud, as an example for himself, the history of the patience 
of Job, or some other extract from Scripture, by which his 
pains might be alleviated, and his depressed soul be raised 
to heavenly things. And because he could not get up to 
pray, nor without difficulty lift up his voice to the usual 
extent of daily psalmody, the prudent man, in his zeal for 
religion, at every hour of daily or nightly prayer would 
call to him some of the brethren, and making them 
sing psalms in two companies, would himself sing with 
them, arid thus make up by their voices for the deficiency 
of his own. 

Now both the abbots saw that they were near death, and 
unfit longer to rule the monastery, from increasing weak- 
ness, which, though tending no doubt to the perfection of 
Christian purity, was so great, that, when they expressed 
a desire to see one another before they died, and Sigfrid 
was brought in a litter into the room where Benedict was 
lying od his bed, though they were placed by the attend 
ants with their heads on the same pillow, they had not 
the power of their own strength to kiss one another, but 
were assisted even in this act of fraternal love. After 
taking counsel with Sigfrid and the other brethren, 
Benedict sent for Ceolfrid, abbot of St Paul's, dear to him 
not by relationship of the flesh, but by the ties of Christian 
virtue, and with the consent and approbation of all, made 


him abbot of both monasteries ; thinking it expedient in 
every respect to preserve peace, unity, and concord between 
the two, if they should have one father and ruler for ever, 
after the example of the kingdom of Israel, which always 
remained invincible and inviolate by foreign nations as 
long as it was ruled by one and the same govenor of its 
own race ; but when for its former sins it was torn into 
opposing factions, it fell by degrees, and, thus shorn of 
its ancient integrity, perished. He reminded them also 
of that evangelical maxim, ever worthy to be remem- 
bered, — ' A kingdom divided against itself shall be laid 

Two months after this, God's chosen servant, the 
venerable abbot Sigfrid, having passed through the fire 
and water of temporal tribulation, was carried to the rest- 
ing-place of everlasting repose : he entered the mansion 
of the heavenly kingdom, rendering up whole offerings of 
praise to the Lord which his righteous lips had vowed ; 
and after another space of four months, Benedict, who so 
nobly vanquished sin and wrought the deeds of virtue, 
yielded to the weakness of the flesh, and came to his end. 
Night came on chilled by the winter's blasts, but a day of 
eternal felicity succeeded, of serenity and of splendour. 
The brethren met together at the church, and passed the 
night without sleep iD praying and singing, consoling 
their sorrow for their father's departure by one continued 
outpouring of praise. 

His death occurred on the ] 4th of January, 690. — Vita 
Beatorum Abbatum Wiremuthensium et Girvensium Bene- 
dicti, d'G. auctore Beda. Edit. Giles. 

Benedict, of Peterborough, was born in the twelfth 
century, and educated at Oxford, where he was made a 
doctor in divinity ; becoming a benedictine monk in 
Christ church, Canterbury, he was elected prior of that 
house. Though a great admirer of Thomas a Becket, he 
was so much esteemed by Henry II, that by the influence 
of that prince, he obtained the abbacy of Peterborough in 


the year 1177. He assisted at the coronation of Richard I. 
in 1189, and was made keeper of the great seal in 1191. 

He wrote the life of Thomas a JBecket, and has been 
called by Bale a vile impostor ; but the censure of Bale 
will not much damage any reputation, the character 
of that bishop of Ossory, for scurrility, being too well 
known. (See his life.) Dr Cave informs us that the 
author of the " Quadrilogus" transcribed the greater part 
of Benedict's life of Becket into the third and fourth 
books of his work. 

Benedict died on Michaelmas day, 1193. Biog. Brit 
Leland. Bale. Nicholson. 

Benedict, of Gloucester, a monk of the great abbey 
there, of whose time nothing is known. He has left a 
life of Dubricius, archbishop of Caerleon, printed by 
Wharton, (Anglia Sacra, ii. 654.) This relates the trans- 
lation of Dubricius, in 1120; consequently the author 
must have lived after that year, and the MS. used is 
thought not much later. (Angl. Sacr. ii. Prcpf.) 

Benedict, of Norwich, a learned monk, author of several 
works, one of which was entitled, Alphabetum Aristotelis. 
He died and was buried at Norwich in the year 1340. 

Benedict, or Benoist, was born in Languedoc a. d. 
750. He was son of Aigulfe, count of Languedoc, who was 
distinguished by his fidelity to king Pepin, and by the 
courage with which he defeated the Gascons, who invaded 
his territories. Aigulfe sent his son Benoist to the court 
of Pepin, where he first served as cup-bearer, and was 
afterwards in the army. After the death of Pepin, he 
entered the service of Charlemagne. An accident by 
which he was nearly drowned struck him so forcibly that 
he then began in earnest to think of his salvation : he 
resolved to retire from the world, quitted his parents, and 
intended to go to Aix la Chapelle, but passing through 
Burgundy, he stopped at the abbey of St Seine, in the 


diocese of Langres, near Dijon, and became a monk in that 

Two years and a half were passed by him in austerities 
and fastings ; and when the abbot of St Seine died, the 
monks wished to elect Benoist into his place, which he 
declined, again passed into Languedoc (780,) and there 
built a hermitage near a chapel dedicated to St Saturninus, 
situated upon the stream called the Aniane. This hermit- 
age increased by degrees until it became a considerable 
convent, where there were 300 monks. The zeal of Benoist 
of Aniane became noted, and led him to undertake the 
reformation of monasteries, and the restoration of disci- 
pline, both monastic and ecclesiastical : he also withstood 
the errors of Felix of Elipandis. 

Louis the Debonaire sent for Benoist and made him 
chief over all the monasteries in France. He assisted at 
the council of Aix la Chapelle, and presided over an 
assembly of abbots, at which he drew up rules and statutes 
to regulate the monastic life ; these were authorized by 
the king, and sent to all the religious houses in France. 

Benoist died in 821, at the monastery of Inde, called 
since St Cornelius, which he had established near Aix la 
Chapelle. This holy abbot was in France and Germany 
what St Benedict was in Italy. He compiled a collection 
of rules belonging to the Eastern and Western monks, 
called Codex Regularum, with a concord, to shew the 
superiority of the rule of St Benedict. He also prepared 
a collection of homilies from the fathers, and a peni- 
tential office. 

The life of Benoist of Aniane was written by Ardon 
Shearagdus, and given with a collection of his works in 
1648, together with curious notes by Hugo Mainard, a 
learned Benedictine. — Mabillon. Bulteaus Hist. Monast. 
d'Ocad. Herschinus Dissert, sur Benoit d 'Aniane* Baillet 
vies des Saints. Dnpin. 

Benedicttjs, Peter, was born at Gusta, in Phoenicia, 
in 1663. He received his education in the Maronite 


college at Rome, where he made a great progress in 
Oriental learning. After occupying the Hebrew professor- 
ship at Pisa, at the age of forty-four he became a Jesuit, 
but without losing the respect in which he was held by 
the Maronites. He died at Rome in 1742. He com- 
menced an edition of Ephrem Syrus, his venerable 
countryman, a father of the Church; the edition was 
completed by Assemanni. Benedictus also translated 
part of the Greek menology. — Biog. Univ. 

Benedict, Rene, or Renatus, a doctor of the Sorbonne, 
and curate of St Eustathius, at Paris, was born at 
Sevenieres, near Angers. He secretly inclined to pro- 
testantism, and published at Paris the French translation 
of the Scriptures, made by the reformed ministers at 
Geneva. The version, after having been approved by 
several doctors of the Sorbonne, and a privilege granted for 
printing it, was on publication condemned, no doubt on 
account of its origin being discovered. He was confessor 
to Mary queen of Scots when she was in France. Some 
time before the death of Henry III. of France, Benedict 
published a book entitled Apologie Catholique, to shew 
that the protestantism of Henry of Navarre was not a 
sufficient reason to deprive him of his right of succes- 
sion to the throne, because the Huguenots admitted the 
fundamental articles of the catholic faith, and because the 
ceremonies and practices which they rejected were not 
observed in the primitive church. He contended also that 
the council of Trent which condemned them, was neither 
a general council, nor acknowledged by the church of 
France. Benedict assisted in the assembly at St Denis, 
which advised Henry of Navarre to be reconciled to the 
church, for which that monarch appointed him bishop 
of Troyes, but he could never be induced to apply for the 
papal bulls, so that he only enjoyed its temporalities. 
He died at Angers in 1608. His works are — 1. Apologie 
Catholique. 2. History of the Coronation of Henry IV. 
8vo. — Moreri. 


Benedicttjs, Levita, flourished in the early part of the 
ninth century, and was a deacon of Mentz. He is chiefly 
distinguished as the author of a collection of capitularies 
in three books, which he compiled at the request of Otgar, 
archbishop of Mentz, about the year 847. It is joined to 
the four books of Ansegisus, and forms the fifth, sixth, 
and seventh books of capitularies. — Biog. Univ. 

Benefield, Sebastian, of the seventeenth century, 
born at Prestbury, in Gloucestershire, August 12th, 1559. 
He was admitted a scholar of Corpus Christi college, in 
Oxford, August 30th, 1586, and chosen probationer- 
fellow, April 16th, 1590. After he had taken his degree 
of master of arts, he entered into holy orders ; and in 
1599, was appointed rhetoric reader in his college, and 
the year following admitted to the reading of the sen- 
tences. In 1608, he took the degree of doctor of divinity, 
and five years after, was appointed Margaret professor of 
divinity in that university. He discharged this office 
with great success for fourteen years, when he resigned 
it, and retired to his rectory of Meysey Hampton, near 
Fairford, in Gloucestershire, into which he had been in- 
ducted several years before. He spent here the remainder 
of his life; and was eminent for piety, integrity, and 
extensive learning. He was well skilled in all arts of 
knowledge, and extremely conversant in the writings 
of the fathers and schoolmen. He was a sedentary 
man, and fond of retirement, which rendered him less 
easy and affable in conversation. He was particularly 
attached to the opinions of Calvin, especially that of 
predestination ; so that he has been styled a downright 
and doctrinal Calvinist. He died at Meysey Hampton, 
August 24th, 1630, and was buried in the chancel of the 
church, on the 29th of the same month. He wrote the 
following treatises : — 1. Doctrinse Christianas sex capita 
totidem praelectionibus in schola Theolog. Oxon. pro 
forma habitis discussa et desceptata. Oxford, 1610, 4to. 
vol. it. x 

242 BENGEL. 

2. Appendix ad caput secundum de conciliis Evangelicis 
etcet. ad versus Humphredum Leech. 3. Eight sermons 
publicly preached in the university of Oxford, the second 
at St Peter's in the East, the rest at St Mary's church. 
Oxford, 1614, in 4to. 4. The siu against the Holy Ghost, 
and other Christian doctrines, delivered in twelve sermons, 
upon part of the tenth chapter of the epistle to the 
Hebrews. Oxford, 1615, in 4to. 5. A Commentary, or 
Exposition upon the first chapter of Amos, delivered in 
twenty-one sermons, in the parish church of Meysey 
Hampton, in the diocese of Gloucester. Oxford, 1613, in 
4to. 6. Several sermons. 7. Commentary, or Exposition 
upon the second chapter of Amos, delivered in twenty-one 
sermons, in the parish church of Meysey Hampton, &c. 
London, 1620, in 4to. 8. Prselectiones de perse verantia 
sanctorum. Francfort, 1618, in 8vo. 9. Commentary, or 
Exposition on the third chapter of Amos, &c. London, 
1629, in 4to. 10. A Latin sermon upon Revelations. 
— Biog. Brit. 

Bengel, or Bengelius, was born at Winnedin, in 
Wirtemberg, in 1687, and became divinity professor at 
Tubingen, in Suabia. His works are — 1. Novi Testa- 
menti Graeci recte cauteque adornandi prodromus, 8vo. 
2. Notitia Nov. Test. Graec. recte cauteque adornati, 8vo. 
o. Novum Test. Grsec. cum introductione in Crisin N. T. 
Apparatu Critico et Epilogo, 4to. 4. Gnomon Nov. Test. 
4to. 5. Cyclus, sive de anno magno solis, lunae, stellarum 
consideratio, &c. 8vo, 6. Ordo Temporum, 8vo. He held 
the doctrine of the millenium, the commencement of which 
he placed in the year 1836. Dr John Piobertson published 
a translation of his Introduction to the Exposition of the 
Apocalypse, Svo. 1757. His edition of the New Testament 
created a great sensation in the theological world at its 
first appearance, though his labours as a critic have been 
superseded by Witstein. He died in 1752. — Bp. Marsh's 
Lectures. Gen. Diet. 


Benignus was the son of Sesgnen, a man of power and 
wealth in Meath, who hospitably entertained St Patrick 
in the year 433. The following account of him is given 
by Jocelin : 

" Sesgnen had a son, whom St Patrick baptized, and 
adapting his name to his disposition, called him Benignus ; 
and, in truth, his life and temper made good the name ; 
for he was gentle and good natured, beloved by God and 
men, and worthy of glory and honour both in this world 
and the next. This youth stuck close to the side of the 
prelate, and could by no means be kept asunder from him : 
for when the holy man was going to take his rest, this 
most pure child running from his father and mother, cast 
himself at his feet, and pressing them with his hands to 
his breast, and imprinting many kisses thereon, rested 
with him. On the morrow, when St Patrick was pre- 
pared for his journey, and ready to get into his chariot, 
the boy laid hold of his foot beseeching and adjuring him 
not to leave him behind ; and when both his parents 
would have separated him from their guest, and retained 
him with them, the lad, with tears and lamentations, 
begged them to let him go with his spiritual father. The 
Saint, seeing such great devotion in so tender a heart and 
body, blessed him in the name of the Lord ; and, taking 
him up in his chariot, prophesied, ' That he should be 
the successor of his ministry, as indeed he was : for this 
same Benignus succeeded St Patrick in the government 
of his bishopric and primacy of all Ireland ; and, at length, 
being celebrated for his great virtues and miracles, he 
rested in the Lord."' 

It is supposed that he was baptized by the name of 
Stephen, which accordingly is one of the appellations 
given to him. He obtained the name of Benin, whence 
Benignus, from the sweetness of his disposition, the word 
Bin in the Irish language signifying sweet. He was the 
constant companion of St Patrick through the entire course 
of his mission, and by some writers it is supposed that 
the government of the church was consigned to him during 

244 BENNET. 

the lifetime of that prelate ; he certainly succeeded to the 
see of Armagh in the year 455. Several poems regulating 
the tributes and privileges of the monarchs and provincial 
kings of Ireland, which are still extant in the Irish lan- 
guage, are attributed to Benignus, and, as Mr Todd ob- 
serves, are some proof that the Church had so advanced 
in his time, as to be permitted to take an interest in the 
civil affairs of the country. According to William of 
Malmesbury, he relinquished his see before the end of his 
life, and died a hermit at Firlingmore, near Glastonbury. 
— Usher. Biog. Brit. Todd's Hist, of the Irish Church. 

Bennet, Thomas, was born in 1673, and sent to St 
John's college, Cambridge, in 1688. In 1699 he pub- 
lished an Answer to the Dissenters' Pleas for Separation. 
In the next year he was presented by bishop Compton 
to the rectory of St James's, Colchester, where he became 
an active parish priest. He now published his Confuta- 
tion of Popery, which was followed in 1702 by a Discourse 
of Schism ; in which he shews what is meant by schism ; 
that schism is a damnable sin ; that there is a schism 
between the church of England and the dissenters. 
That this schism is to be charged on the dissenters' 
side ; that the modern pretences of toleration, agree- 
ment in fundamentals, &c. will not excuse the dissenters 
from being guilty of schism. In 1705 he printed at 
Cambridge his Confutation of Quakerism, and in 1708 
A Brief History of the joint use of Precomposed Forms of 
Prayer, in which he shews that the ancient Jews, our 
Saviour, His Apostles, and the primitive Christians, never 
joined in any prayers, but precomposed set forms only ; 
that those precomposed set forms, in which they joined, 
were such as the respective congregations were accus- 
tomed to, and throughly acquainted with ; and that 
their practice warrants the imposition of a national pre- 
composed liturgy. To this treatise he has annexed a 
discourse of the gift of prayer, the intent of which is to 
shew, that what the dissenters mean by the gift of prayer, 


viz. a faculty of conceiving prayers extempore, is not 
comprised in Scripture. In the same year he published 
his discourse On Joint Prayers, wherein he points out, 
what is meant by joint prayer, that the joint use of prayers 
conceived ex tempore, hinders devotion, and consequently 
displeases God ; whereas the joint use of such precom- 
posed set forms, as the congregation is accustomed to, and 
throughly acquainted with, does effectually promote de- 
votion, and consequently is commanded by God ; that 
the lay dissenters are obliged, upon their own principles, 
to abhor the prayers offered in their separate assemblies, 
and to join in communion with the Established Church 
This treatise was animadverted upon in several places. 
In 1709 he published in 8vo. his Paraphrase with anno- 
tations, on the Book of Common Prayer, in which he 
observes that the using of the morning prayer, the litany, 
and communion service at one and the same time, in one 
continued order, is contrary to the first intention and 
practice of the Church. In 1711 he published his Plights 
of the Christian Church, to prove that Church authority 
is not derived from the people, and that the laity have no 
divine right to elect the clergy or choose their own pastors. 
About this time he took his DD. degree. His next im- 
portant publication was his "Directions for studying. 1. A 
general system of divinity: Q. The thirty-nine articles, to 
which is added St Jerome's Epistle to Xepotian." The 
same year he published his Essay on the thirty-nine 
articles agreed upon in 1562, and revised in 1571, in 
which he defended the genuineness of the then contro- 
verted clause in the -20th article. About this time he left 
Colchester and removed to London, where he was chosen 
lecturer at St Olave's in the Borough, and morning preacher 
at St Lawrence Jewry. In 1716 he attacked the prin- 
ciples of the nonjurors, in a pamphlet entitled, "The Non- 
jurors' Separation from the Public Assemblies of the 
Church of England, examined and approved to be Schis- 
matical on their own Principles." He was soon after pie- 
x g 

'248 BENSON 

sented to the vicarage of St Giles's, Cripplegate, where he 
quickly became involved in disputes with his parishioners 
on the rights of his Church, to which he recovered £150 
per annum. In 1718 he engaged in the Trinitarian 
controversy, in an examination of Dr Clarke's Scripture 
Doctrine of the Trinity. In 1726 he published a Hebrew 
grammar. He died of apoplexy on October 9, 1728. On 
many points Dr Bennet's views were latitudinarian, and 
in his controversies on the most sacred doctrine of the 
Holy Trinity, his positions have sometimes the appear- 
ance of being heterodox. — Gen. Diet. Biog. Brit. 

Bennet, Benjamin, a presbyterian teacher, was born at 
Whellesburgh, in Leicestershire, in 1674. After going 
through his academical exercises he settled as a preacher 
at the place of his nativity, from whence he removed to 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His works are — 1. A Memorial of 
the Reformation, 8vo, 1721, a very partial and unfair 
performance. 2. A Defence of the same, 8vo. 3. Dis- 
courses on Popery, 8vo. 4. Irenicum, or a Review of some 
late controversies about the Trinity, 8vo. 5. Sermons on 
the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. 6. Christian 
Oratory, 8vo. This last work has gone through numerous 
editions, and is exceedingly popular. He has the ill fame 
of being chiefly instrumental, by his treatise, entitled 
Irenicum, alluded to above, in leading the presbyterians 
of England to the denial of the Saviour, and the rejection 
of the God of Christians. He died at Newcastle in 1706. 
— Gen. Diet. Bogue and Burnet's Hist, of Dissenters. 

Benson, George, was born at Great Salkeld in Cum- 
ber 1 and, in 1699. He was educated at Whitehaven, and 
afterwards at Glasgow. About 1721 he was chosen to 
be : be teacher of a congregation at Abingdon, in Berkshire, 
fron whence he removed in 1729 to Southwark, and in 
1 7 succeeded Dr. Harris, at Crutched Friars. One of 
cotch universities gave him the degree of DD. 


the dissenters then been willing to receive titles which 
formerly they denounced. He was educated a calvinist, 
but being a learned man, and holding the right of private 
judgment, he examined the calvinistic system, and found 
it impossible to reconcile it with Scripture ; but when he 
renounced Calvinism he did not look to the Church, but 
following the blind guide of his private judgment fell into 
Arianism. His chief works are, A Defence of the Reason- 
ableness of Prayer ; An Account of the Burning of Servetus 
at Geneva, and of the Concern of Calvin in that Act; An 
Account of Archbishop Laud's Treatment of Dr Leighton ; 
A Dissertation on % Thess. ii. 1 — 12, against the church 
of Rome ; A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistle to 
Philemon, in the manner of Mr. Locke; which was 
followed by paraphrases and notes, on the same plan, on 
the Epistles to the Thessalonians, Timothy, and Titus, 
and the Catholic Epistles. In 1735 he published a 
History of the First Planting of Christianity, in two vols, 
4 to. He wrote also the Reasonableness of the Christian 
Religion as delivered in the Scriptures ; a Collection of 
Tracts against Persecution; a volume of Sermons; and 
a History of the Life of Jesus Christ, a posthumous work, 
published in 1764. He died in 1763. He was respected 
as a man of learning, but he was pedantic and wrote in 
an affected style. — Memoirs prefixed to his Works. 

Bentham, Thomas, was born about the year 1513, at 
Sherbourne, in Yorkshire, and became a fellow of Magda- 
lene college, Oxford, in 1543. He became eminent in 
the university as a Hebrew scholar, and his theological 
studies convinced him that the Church required a reforma- 
tion. When first he went to the university the reforming 
party was small, but in spite of the vigilance of the heads 
of houses, it rapidly gained ground; and when, in the 
reign of Edward VI. the reformers were in the ascendant, 
Bentham embraced the cause of the reformation with 
youthful ardour. It is said that with Henry Bull, of the 
same college, he once shook the censer out of the hands 


of some one officiating in the college chapel, to prevent, 
as it was said, incense being offered to an idol. When, 
with the accession of Queen Mary, the Romanizers 
regained authority in church and state, and, aided by the 
strong conservative feeling, which had been excited by 
the excesses of the reforming ministry of Edward VI. 
they were carrying things with a high hand, Bentham 
disdained to conceal his sentiments. He refused to be 
present at the service of the Church, now performed 
according to the ritual as it existed before the late reign, 
and he also refused to correct the scholars of his college 
when they absented themselves from chapel. He therefore 
became one of the first victims of the visitation under- 
taken by Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, in 1553, and. 
was deprived of his fellowship. He then went abroad, 
residing some time at Zurich and Basle, where he became 
preacher to the English exiles, expounding to them the 
acts of the apostles, until he was called to a work of greater 
danger. Many congregations remained in London during 
Mary's reign in which the doctrine of the reformation 
was preached, and there was one chief congregation, the 
pastor of which acted as superintendent over all the others. 
And this superintendent Bentham, in the last year of 
queen Mary's reign, became. They required a fearless 
man, and the fearlessness of Bentham was such as on one 
occasion to bring him into danger. When seven martyrs 
were to be burnt in Smithfield, proclamation was made that 
none should speak to them, comfort them, or pray for them. 
Bentham, however, no sooner saw fire put to the pile, than 
he cried out, " We know that they are God's people ; we 
must, therefore, wish them well, and pray Him to strength- 
en them. Oh, may God Almighty, for Christ's sake, give 
them strength." Loud shouts of " Amen" arose immedi- 
ately on every side, greatly to the confusion and amaze- 
ment of those who were charged with this cruel execution. 
The cruelty of the Romanizing party had now done its 
work, and had caused a re-action in men's minds. If pious 
men had been disgusted with the selfishness and rapacity 

BENT AM. 249 

with which the reformers of Edward the sixth's reign had 
applied to their own aggrandizement, and not the public 
good, the revenues of which they despoiled the Church, all 
men were now prepared to think any thing better than 
the awful severity with which the ministers of Mary sought 
to repress the reformation and silence their opponents. 

In the second year of queen Elizabeth's reign, Bentham 
was nominated to the see of Coventry and Lichfield, and 
was consecrated on the 21th of March, 1559. Like others of 
the bishops preferred in queen Elizabeth's reign, Bentham 
would have been willing to have carried the reformation 
further than the Church in convocation, and the queen as 
head of the state, would permit. The superintending pro- 
vidence of God protected His Church in this land then, as 
It has often done since, from the rashness of her prelates, 
who have acted merely as instruments in the hands of 
God. May such protection ever be vouchsafed to the 
blessed church of England ! 

In the year 1565 complaint was made against the dio- 
cese of Coventry and Lichfield for not observing the orders 
of the Church, for the dislike of the ecclesiastical habits, 
and some other rites. Bishop Bentham was therefore 
reproved ; and in consequence he appointed, in the be- 
ginning of this year, a visitation to be held by Mr Sale 
(or Saul), some dignitary of that church. And for the 
better proceeding in this visitation, the bishop wrote, by 
his own hand, these brief instructions for him to observe : 

' Imprimis, Whereas I and my diocese are accused of 
disorders, used of my clergy, these are to will you to charge 
them all to behave themselves in their ministry, soberly 
and reverently, in all points of clerkly office, as well within 
the church as without ; upon pains which may ensue for 
the transgressing the queen's injunctions. 

• Item, To charge all and every the clergy to make pre- 
sentments of those that had not communicated that Easter; 
and such as refused their own churches, parsons, vicars, 
or curates; and went to other parishes. And in what 
parishes they were received. 


1 To charge them to make presentments of all children 
being full seven years of age, and not confirmed. 

' And to give charge in their parishes, that in Rogation 
week, none go about, but such as the queen's injunctions 
do allow ; that is, substantial men of the parish, with the 

1 To learn, whether the register book be had and ob- 
served for marriages, christenings, and burials. 

' All these and such others, as you shall see most meet, 
for faithful and fruitful service of the ministers ; as in 
appointing taxes and such like order, I will you do not 
omit. " T. C. L. 

The ZSth of April, 1565. 

He published a sermon on Matt. iv. 1 — 2. printed at 
London. Bishop Burnet says, he translated into English 
the book of Psalms, at the command of queen Elizabeth, 
when an English version of the Bible was to be made, and 
that he likewise translated Ezekiel and Daniel. He died 
at Eccleshall castle, in Staffordshire, the seat belonging to 
his see, February 19, 1578, aged 65 years. — Wood. Tanner. 
Strype's Annals Memorials. Cranmer. Grinded. Parker. 

Bentham, Edward, was born at Ely in 1707. He was 
educated at the school of Christ church, Oxford, from 
whence, in 1723, he removed as a member of the univer- 
sity to Corpus Christi college, and in 1731 was chosen 
fellow of Oriel-college. The year following he took his 
degree of MA. In 1743 he obtained a prebend in the 
cathedral of Hereford, of which church he was afterwards 
treasurer. In 1749 he proceeded to his doctors degree, 
and in 1754 was promoted to the fifth stall in his cathe- 
dral. On the death of Dr Fanshaw he was nominated 
regius professor of divinity in the university of Oxford, 
and in 1763 was removed to the eighth stall in the church 
of Hereford. He died in 1776. Besides some single 
sermons, Dr Bentham published — 1. An Introduction to 
Moral Philosophy, 8vo. 2. A Letter to a young Gentle- 
man on Study ; with a Letter to a Fellow of a College, 8vo. 

BENTLEY. 2.51 

3. Advice to a young man of rank, upon coming to the 
University. 4. Reflections on Logic, with a vindication 
of the same, 8vo. 5. Funeral Eulogies upon military 
men, from the Greek, 8vo. 6. De Studiis Theologicis 
Praelectio. 7. Reflections upon the Study of Divinity, 
with heads of a course of Lectures, 8vo. 8. De Vita et 
Moribus Johannis Burton, S. T. P. 9. An Introduction to 
Logic, 8vo. 10. De Tumultibus Americanis deque eorum 
concitatoribus similis meditatio. — Biog. Brit. 

Bentham, James, brother of the preceding, was born at 
Ely. He studied at Trinity-college, Cambridge, and in 
1738 was presented to the vicarage of Stapleford in the 
same county, which he resigned three years afterwards, on 
being appointed minor canon of Ely. In 1767 he was 
presented to the vicarage of Wymondham, in Norfolk, but 
resigned it the next year for the rectory of Feltwell St 
Nicholas, which he exchanged in 1774 for the rectory of 
North wold, an this again for a prebendal stall in the 
cathedral of Ely, to which was added in 1783 the rectory 
of Bow-brick-hill. In 1771 he published " The History 
and Antiquities of the conventual and cathedral church of 
Ely," 4to. ; to which work he prefixed an introduction, 
giving an account of Saxon, Norman, and Gothic architec- 
ture. This essay by some strange mistake was ascribed to 
Gray the poet, and it was not till 1783 that Mr Bentham 
heard of the injustice done him, when he asserted his 
claim in the Gentleman's Magazine. In 1757 he published 
proposals for a drainage of the Fens, and by his exertions 
this plan was carried into effect. On this subject he also 
printed a tract entitled " Considerations and Reflections 
upon the present state of the Fens near Ely, 8vo. 1778. 
He died in 1794, aged 86. A new edition of his history of 
Ely cathedral was printed at Norwich in 1812. — Nichols's 

Bentley, Richard, was born at Oulton, in the parish of 
Rothwell, near Leeds, on the 27th of January, 1661 — 2. 


The investigations of the present learned vicar of Roth- 
well, the Rev John Bell, have not brought to light any 
anecdotes of the gifted youth or his family in addition to 
those already recorded by bishop Monk ; nor, though he 
received his primary education at Methley, has a single 
copy of his verses been discovered by the accomplished 
rector of that parish. From the day-school at Methley, 
Bentley was sent to the grammar school at Wakefield, 
and at the age of fourteen he entered as subsizar of St 
John's college, Cambridge. 

With the exception, if even that exception be allowed, 
of Joseph Justus Scaliger ; Bentley takes the highest rank 
among the classical soholars of any age. But his biography 
belongs rather to the history of scholars than to that of 
divines. Although, as a theological writer, he holds a distin- 
guished place, yet his general character is not that on which 
a Christian delights to dwell. It would not therefore be 
consistent with the character of this work to enter into the 
details of his literary and academical controversies, and at- 
tention will merely be called to his labours as a theologian. 
They commenced at an early period, though they were 
at all times regarded as secondary to his literary pursuits, 
if they were not themselves undertaken rather as an intel- 
lectual employment than as a ministerial duty. He was 
ordained in March, 1689 — 90, and while yet a deacon he 
was appointed to deliver the Boyle Lecture, being the first 
lecturer on that foundation : it is scarcely possible to con- 
ceive a greater compliment to the merits of a young man, 
and throughout life Bentley appears to have considered 
this distinction as the greatest of the honours with which 
he was ever invested. The subject of his discourses was 
a " Confutation of Atheism," and in them the discoveries 
in Newton's Principia were applied to the confirmation 
of natural theology. The Principia had been published 
about six years ; but the sublime discoveries of that work 
were yet little known, owing, not merely to the obsta- 
cles which oppose the reception of novelty, but to the 
difficulty of comprehending the proofs whereby they are 


established. To Bentley belongs, as bishop Monk remarks, 
the undoubted merit of having been the first to lay open 
these discoveries in a popular form, and to explain their 
irresistible force in the proof of a Deity. This constitutes 
the subject of his seventh and eighth sermons; pieces 
admirable for the clearness with which the whole ques- 
tion is developed, as well as for the logical precision of 
their arguments. Among other topics, he shows how con- 
tradictory to the principles of philosophy is the notion of 
matter contained in the Solar System having been once 
diffused over a chaotic space, and afterwards combined 
into the large bodies of the sun, planets, and secondaries, 
by the force of mutual gravitation ; and he explains that 
the planets could never have obtained the transverse mo- 
tion, which causes them to revolve round the sun in orbits 
nearly circular, from the agency of any cause except the 
arm of an almighty Creator. From these and other sub- 
jects of physical astronomy, as well as from the discoveries 
of Boyle, the founder of the lecture, respecting the nature 
and properties of the atmosphere, a conviction is irresistibly 
impressed upon the mind of the wisdom and benevolence 
of the Deity. We are assured that the effect of these dis- 
courses was such, that atheism was deserted as untenable 
ground ; or, to use his own expression, the atheists were 
1 silent since that time, and sheltered themselves under 

It is not to be supposed that the trustees of the lecture- 
ship selected so young a man without previous knowledge 
of his powers. By going so early to Cambridge, Bentley 
obtained the start of his contemporaries : and not only had 
his character as a scholar and man of genius been estab- 
lished at Cambridge, but he had made himself well known 
to the literary characters he was accustomed to meet in 
bishop Stillingfleet's family, where he resided as tutor to 
the bishop's son. Bishop Stillingfleet had discovered that 
if " he had but humility, Bentley would be the most extra- 
ordinary man in Europe." Moreover his character was 

VOL. II. . y 


established at the sister university, for he had attended 
young Stillingfleet to Oxford, where some remarks which 
he published on Maletas, in the form of an epistle to 
Dr Neill, attracted the attention of the scholars of Europe, 
and were praised for originality of conception, as well as 
for copious erudition. 

By bishop StilliDgfleet he was preferred to a stall in 
Worcester cathedral in the year 1692, and he held after- 
wards the rectory of Hartlebury, until his pupil, the 
bishop's son, was old enough to take it. In 1696 he took 
his degree of D.D. He had been previously appointed 
royal librarian : and from a misunderstanding between 
him and the honourable Mr Boyle of Christ-church, Oxford, 
arose the celebrated Boyle controversy, in which Bentley 
trampled upon his opponents, and in his Dissertation on 
Phalaris, produced a work which has never been surpassed 
in the combination of lively wit, logical acumen, and 
originality of remark, with profound learning. His claims 
as a scholar were now universally acknowledged, and in 
1699, he was appointed to the mastership of Trinity 
college, Cambridge. The appointment was made by the 
commissioners, appointed by William, after the death of 
Mary, to recommend fit persons to fill all vacancies in 
ecclesiastical or university preferments in the gift of the 
crown. As a calvinist and dissenter the king felt his 
incompetency to interfere in such appointments, and the 
prerogative of the crown had not yet been usurped by the 
chief servant of the sovereign. In 1701 Bentley married, 
and was in the same year made archdeacon of Ely. 

Into an account of the controversies in which he was now 
involved, and in which he was almost always in the wrong, 
it is not, for reasons before assigned, our intention to enter: 
we need merely say that he exhibited throughout a sad 
deficiency in the temper of a Christian, and even of a 
gentleman, and it is impossible not to regret the mis- 
application of those immense powers of mind, which 
enabled him for twenty eight years to defy all ecclesiastical 


authority and the censures of the university, and against 
all right and law to hold his post as master of Trinity 

Such, however, was the energy of his mind, that not- 
withstanding the incessant litigation in which he was 
involved, his labours as a scholar were continued without 
interruption. In 1711 he published his edition of Horace, 
on which he had been employed ten years, and which, 
with all its faults, and many of them highly characteristic 
of the man, was worthy of his former fame. 

But it was in 1713 that he had an opportunity of em- 
ploying his learning for the most legitimate of all purposes, 
by his answer to Collins on Free-Thinking. Anthony 
Collins, we i are told by bishop Monk, was a gentleman 
of education and fortune, who in early life enjoyed the 
friendship of Locke, and had for some years devoted him- 
self to the dissemination of these principles of infidelity, 
to which the theory of Locke legitimately leads. Being 
respectable in his private life, popular and agreeable in 
his manners, and possessing an extensive acquaintance, 
he acquired influence in society; and so great was his 
zeal in the cause, that he seems to have proposed to him- 
self the character of an apostle of irreligion. At the be- 
ginning of 1713 he published, without his name, a book 
styled ' A Discourse of Free-Thinking, occasioned by the 
Rise and Growth of a Sect called Free-Thinkers.' It is 
but too certain that deism had been making considerable 
advance in England since the Revolution, and that its 
progress had been aided by the insidious writings of 
Shaftesbury, Toland, Tindal, and other enemies of revealed 
religion. But the assumption of a ' growing sect' seems 
to have been an artifice designed to imply an uniformity 
of opinions, which did not really exist, among the im- 
pugners of Christianity. Or if the ' sect' had any thing 
like ' a local habitation and a name,' it was a small knot 
of persons whose ordinary place of rendezvous was the 
Grecian coffee-house near Temple Bar; and of them 
Mr Collins was himself the centre, His present work, 


whether we regard its literary merit, its power of argu- 
ment, or the profoundness of its views, appears totally 
unworthy of the attention which it excited : the learning 
is superficial, the reasoning unsound, and the information 
upon general topics loose and inaccurate ; while his ' sapless 
pages' (as Bentley well denominates them) are destitute of 
those indispensable requisites, honesty, and candour, for 
the absence of which no merits can atone. Nevertheless, 
this publication, intrinsically so worthless, occasioned 
great sensation : it appeared as the manifesto of a party ; 
it assumed the concurrence of almost all great men of 
every age and country in similar tenets of ' free-thinking;' 
and it attacked the clergy of the church of England with 
especial severity. The authoritative and self-sufficient 
tone in which its positions are laid down, and its perpetual 
appeals to ancient literature, were well calculated to entrap 
the careless and half-learned, who at all times constitute a 
large proportion of the reading public. 

Many replies were published, but Phileleutherus Lep- 
siensis had the merit of demolishing the infidel fabric : 

Nothing, observes Dr Monk, can be more judicious or 
effectual than the manner in which Bentley takes to pieces 
the shallow but dangerous performance of the infidel. Not 
satisfied with replying to particular arguments, he cuts the 
ground from under his feet, by exposing the fallacious mode 
of reasoning which pervades them all, and the contemptible 
sophism which represents all good and great men of every 
age and country to have been 'free-thinkers,' and conse- 
quently partizans of his own sect. But the happiest of 
the remarks are those which display the mistakes and 
ignorance of Collins in his citations from classical writers. 
By a kind of fatality, his translations are perpetually in- 
accurate, and his conception of the originals erroneous : 
and though most of his blunders are the effects of igno- 
rance, yet not a few seem to arise from a deliberate inten- 
tion of deceiving his readers. Never was the advantage 
more conspicuous of a ripe and perfect scholar over a half- 
learned smatterer: while the latter searches book after 


book in pursuit of passages favourable to his own theory, 
the former, familiar with the writings and characters of 
the authors, and accurately versed in their language, is 
able to take to pieces the ill-sorted patchwork of irrelevant 
quotations. These parts of Bentley's work are not only 
effectual in demolishing his adversary, but are both enter- 
taining and useful to the reader ; and to them it is owing 
that the book has experienced a fate so different from that 
of other controversial writings : even the ablest and best- 
written of such pieces generally fall into oblivion along 
with the dispute which gave them birth; but the 'Re- 
marks of Phileleutherus' are still read with the same 
delight as at their first appearance. The fact of their 
having passed through a multitude of editions at consider- 
able intervals of time marks a continuance of interest 
among the educated public, only to be accounted for by 
the intrinsic value of the work. 

For this work Bentley received the thanks of the univer- 
sity. In 1716 he designed a new edition of the Greek 
Testament, and had communications with Wetstein upon 
the subject : but although, having collected materials, and 
caused several manuscripts to be collated, he raised a 
considerable subscription in 1720 to enable him to com- 
plete the work ; the plan was never carried into effect, and 
every sincere Christian must rejoice that the bold irre- 
verent spirit of Dr Bentley was providentially diverted 
from a work in which he might have done incalculable 

His labours seem not to have injured his health, nor his 
controversies to have interfered with the regularity of his 
life. In 1726 he published his edition of Terence, by 
which his character as a scholar was still maintained ; but 
he exposed himself to much ridicule by undertaking, at 
the suggestion of queen Caroline, an edition of Milton, 
for which he was perfectly unqualified, and which was 
received when published, in 1731, with universal disap- 

v 2 


He was employed in preparing an edition of Homer, 
when a paralytic stroke, in the year 1739, put an end to his 
labours. In the early part of 1740 he lost his wife, and 
he himself died of pleuritic fever on the 14th of July, 
1742. — Bishop Monk's Life of B entity. 

Berengarius, or Berenger, was born at Tours about 
the close of the tenth or the beginning of the eleventh 
century. He was educated under Fulbert, bishop of 
Chartres, and remained in that city till the death of that 
prelate. On the death of Fulbert, returning to Tours, 
he was appointed lecturer in the public schools attached 
to St Martin's church, of which church he afterwards 
became chamberlain, and then treasurer. His reason for 
leaving Tours and going to Angers is not known, but he 
was there appointed archdeacon by the bishop, who goes 
under the two names of Eusebius and Bruno. At 
Angers, as well as at Tours, the disciples and followers of 
Berengarius were many in number. 

Berengarius was born at the period when the doctrine 
of transubstantiation was daily becoming more and more 
prevalent in the Western church, and that peculiar notion 
respecting the change of substance in the consecrated ele- 
ments of the holy Eucharist, he refused to admit. That 
doctrine had been moulded into definite form, from the 
Catholic doctrine of the real Presence, by Paschasius 
Radbert, monk, and afterwards abbot of Corbie, who died 
in 865. The novelty gradually grew into repute, though 
strongly protested against by several able writers, such as 
Ratramnus and Rabanus Maurus : it seemed to harmo- 
nize with the general spirit and tone which theology was 
tending to assume. But in Berengarius the new doctrine 
found an opponent, though, from the prevalence of the 
opposite opinion, his more orthodox views could only be 
promulged at considerable risk. Of the controversies in 
which he was involved we have an account in Labbe and 
Cossart's Councils, in Cave, in Mosheim, and in Dupin ; 


but the writer of this article has never seen the history of 
these important events so fairly and yet briefly narrated 
as in Bowdens life of Gregory VII; and the reader will 
be indebted for the facts of the following narrative to Mr 
Bowden, a true son of the Church, whose bright example 
of christian excellence will be referred to with admiration 
by all who knew him, while many more than those who 
knew him personally have lamented his early death. 

It was in the pontificate of Leo IX. in 1050, that 
the troubles of Berengarius began. He had written to 
Lanfranc, at that time master of the monastic school at 
Bee, and eventually archbishop of Canterbury, who had 
adopted a different view of the question, and had concluded 
his letter, still extant, by asserting, that if he considered 
Johannes Scotus a heretic for being opposed to the new 
doctrine, now called transubstantiation, he must give the 
same character to St Ambrose, St Jerome, St Augustine, 
and others. Lanfranc was at Piome when the letter was 
sent to him in Normandy : it was read, however, by some 
of the clergy, commissioned probably to open his letters 
during his absence, and by them forwarded with indignant 
remarks to Rome. It was written in a friendly spirit, and 
on that account it was insinuated that Lanfranc must 
himself be inclined to the opinions of Berengarius. This 
will account for Lanfranc's laying the letter before a synod 
then assembled at Rome, where he disavowed all partici- 
pation in the opinions of Berengarius, and Berengarius 
himself absent and unheard was censured. And this sen- 
tence was shortly confirmed by a council held, under the 
same pontiff, at Vercelli. At this latter meeting, Beren- 
garius was summoned to appear and defend himself ; and 
he declares, — in his book " de Sacra Ccena," fol. 16 — that 
he was -willing to have complied with the summons ; but 
that the king of France, — who was. officially, the abbot of 
the church to which he belonged, and whose leave it was 
incumbent on him to procure for the journey, — prevented 
and confined him. He presented himself, however, before 
Hildebrand, when the latter held, as papal legate, a coun- 


cil at Tours, in 1054. And in him he found, according 
to his own account, a most favourable judge. Hildebrand 
listened to his arguments with mildness and attention, 
and himself so far supported those arguments, as to bring 
to the council the works of many authors, and to refer the 
prelates who sat with him to various passages, explaining 
and confirming the tenets of the accused. The legate 
indeed expressed a wish that Berengarius should present 
himself before pope Leo in person ; that by his authority 
the clamours against him might be definitely quelled ; and 
the prelates of the council expressed themselves satisfied 
when the archdeacon of Angers made before them, verbally 
and in writing, the declaration — which he says he most 
heartily did — " that the bread and wine of the altar are 
truly after consecration the Body and Blood of Christ." 

Confiding in his powerful friend, Berengarius, — when 
summoned to Rome in 1059, during the pontificate of 
Nicholas II — hesitated not to present himself before the 
papal throne. But the result of this step must have sorely 
disappointed him. Headed by the cardinal bishop Hum- 
bert, the party of his opponents was predominant in the 
Lateran. Hildebrand was unable efficiently to protect 
him ; the pope was cold and unfriendly. Awed by the 
tumultuous clamours around him, and at the same time 
appalled by the fear of instant death, Berengarius felt his 
firmness forsake him ; and renouncing the opinion which 
he had till then maintained, he adopted, as his own, the 
following confession :- — 

"I, Berengarius . . . anathematize every heresy, and 
more particularly that of which I have hitherto been ac- 
cused ... I agree with the holy Roman Church . . . that 
the bread and wine which are placed on the altar, are, 
after consecration, not only a sacrament, but even the true 
Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and that these 
are sensibly, and not merely sacramentally, but in truth, 
handled and broken by the hands of the priest, and ground 
by the teeth of the faithful. And this I swear by the holy 
and consubstantial Trinity, and by these holy gospels of 


Christ." Berengarius was then allowed to return to 
France, where, freed from the urgent terrors which had 
overpowered him, he soon showed, by returning to the 
inculcation of his former doctrines, the insincerity of 
his compulsory recantation. He continued, however, 
some years unmolested. Alexander II, whether guided 
by the dictates of his own mild disposition, or by the in- 
fluence of his great minister and adviser, forbore from all 
attempts to move him by public censures, or by any other 
mode than that of friendly expostulation. And Gregory 
VII. we may imagine, would willingly have allowed the 
supposed heretic to continue in tranquillity. But as the 
stoinns of his pontificate rolled more loudly, as party 
spirit was kindled and aroused throughout the Western 
church to daily increasing exacerbation, this subject, 
among others, was taken up with clamour; and his 
opponents, by whom Gregory's views on the subject 
were more than suspected, saw, it is probable, in an 
attack on Berengarius, a likely mode of assailing and 
annoying the pontiff himself. The influence of the latter 
over his conclave, grew feeble, his enemies, even in 
his own councils, threatened to overpower him, — and 
Gregory was at length compelled so far to yield to their 
demands, as to summon Berengarius to appear and defend 
himself before the council of November 1078. But, upon 
its assembling, he acted the part of a friend to the accused. 
Berengarius, with his concurrence, in lieu of repeating 
the delaration made by him in 1059, made the following, 
couched in more general and less stringent terms. " I 
acknowledge that the bread of the altar, after consecration, 
is the true Body of Christ, which was bom of the Virgin, 
which suffered on the cross, and which sitteth on the right 
hand of the Father ; and that the wine of the altar, after 
it is consecrated, is the true Blood which flowed from the 
side of Christ ; and what I pronounce with my mouth, 
that I declare I hold in my heart, so help me God and 
these holy Gospels." 

And this confession was no sooner made than Gregory 


declared that it was enough for the Faith, and enough for 
those who must be fed with milk and not with strong 
meat ; as St Augustine had said, ' What ye see on the 
altar is bread and wine, as your eyes inform you ; but, 
according to that which faith demands of you, the bread 
is the Body of Christ, and the wine His Blood.' He pro- 
claimed aloud that Berengarius was no heretic ; that the 
universally reverenced Peter Damiani had, in his hearing, 
spoken of the sacrifice of the Eucharist in terms opposed 
to those insisted on by Lanfranc and his party ; and that 
Lanfranc's authority was not to be set against that of an 
actual son of the church of Rome, who, while not inferior 
to Lanfranc in depth of learning, far excelled him as to 
the zeal with which he studied the divine word, according 
to the Lord's own command, ' Search the Scriptures.' 
And thus, in appearance, were appeased the clamours of 
the archdeacon's impugners. Dissatisfaction, however, 
had been excited by what were considered the ambiguous 
terms of the new confession. Benno, Gregory's inveterate 
enemy, who was able to influence a powerful party in the 
college of cardinals, was urgent in calling for a statement 
more specific. And it was insisted on, that Berengarius 
should be detained in Rome, till the more solemn council 
of the following Lent should definitely decide upon his 
case. With this demand Gregory was either unable, or 
afraid, to refuse compliance, and Berengarius remained, 
during the winter, in the papal city. But, as Lent ap- 
proached, the pontiff anxiously endeavoured to discover 
some means by which the necessity of calling upon him 
to remodel his confession might be avoided. He first 
resolved to call upon him to confirm, by oath, the confes- 
sion which he had already made, and to submit to the 
ordeal of hot iron in proof of his truth. With this pro- 
posal the accused expressed himself ready to comply ; but, 
while he was preparing himself for the trial by fasting and 
prayer, Gregory announced a change of purpose. Sending 
for Berengarius, he, in the presence of the bishop of Porto, 
thus addressed him : — 


* I doubt not thou thinkest rightly enough, and in 
accordance with the Scriptures, respecting the sacrifice of 
Christ ; but as I am accustomed, on doubtful occasions, to 
appeal to the aid of the blessed Mary, I some days back 
directed a certain monk, who is my friend, to implore, 
with prayer and fasting, that she would show me with 
certainty to which side of this controversy I should incline ; 
to the end that I might henceforth remain fixed in my 
opinion. He fulfilled my request, and brought me, after 
a certain time, the blessed Virgin's answer. It was to 
the effect that we need believe nothing respecting the 
Sacrifice of Christ, but that which the Scriptures teach 
us ; and that Berengarius teaches nothing in opposition 
to them.' 

And yet, — notwithstanding these demonstrations of 
favour and intended support, — the pontiff was prevailed 
upon, or compelled, to command the appearance of Beren- 
garius, within a few days of this conference with him, 
before the council of Lent, 1079, and to permit his op- 
ponents to tender for his adoption, a confession in the 
following re-modelled form : — 

' I believe with my heart, and confess with my mouth, 
that the bread and wine which are placed upon the altar, 
through the mystery of holy prayer, and through the words 
of our Redeemer, are substantially converted into the true, 
proper, and life-giving Body and Blood of Jesus Christ 
our Lord, so as, after consecration, to be the true body of 
Christ which was born of the Virgin, which, as an offering 
for the salvation of the world, hung upon the cross, which 
sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and the true blood 
of Christ which flowed from His side ; and this not only 
by the sign and virtue of a sacrament, but in properness 
of nature and truth of substance.' 

Berengarius, in the exigency in which he was placed, 
did not hesitate to pledge himself to this document, or 
even, in compliance with the clamours of his accusers, to 
swear that he adopted the words in the sense which they 
put upon them, and not according to any secret meaning 


of his own. And as he thus disarmed them from taking 
any further measures against him, Gregory lost no time 
in sending him to his home, publicly forbidding him to 
teach any longer the obnoxious doctrine which he had 
disavowed ; but at the same time directing a faithful friend 
to accompany and protect him on his way; and furnishing 
him with a commendatory letter, in which he denounced 
the censures of the Church against all who should presume 
to do to Berengarius, a son of the Roman Church, any 
injury, or to stigmatize him as a heretic. Thus freed 
from his difficulties, Berengarius, — as might have been 
expected, — avowed, upon his return, his original opinions ; 
and ascribed his formal disavowal of them to the fear of 
instant death. But Gregory, however urged on the point 
by the archdeacon's enemies, firmly refused, — and to the 
end of his life persevered in the refusal, — to take any fur- 
ther measures against him. 

The reader will probably be surprised to find Hildebrand, 
(Gregory VII,) taking the protestant side, when the novel 
doctrine of transubstantiation was introduced into the 

Berengarius continued during the remainder of his life 
unmolested by his opponents ; and died in peace at an 
advanced age, on the 6th of January, 1088, in his place 
of retirement, the island of St Come, near Tours. Such 
was his religious and moral excellence, that he died in the 
odour of sanctity, the canons of Tours being accustomed 
for ages to perform religious services annually over his 
tomb, and his name being inserted in the menology of the 
cathedral of Angers. This, to Romish writers has been 
perplexing : they know that at the present time no one 
could die in the odour of sanctity, according to the tenets 
of Romanism, who should deny the doctrine of transubstan- 
tiation ; and they are surprised to find the contrary the 
fact, in the eleventh century. If they refer to history 
their perplexities will cease : although Berengarius held 
an unpopular doctrine, yet impartial men knew that his 
was the ancient doctrine, and even if they differed from 


him in opinion, they did not deem this difference a 
ground for his condemnation. So thought Gregory VII, 
and we may be sure that the pope was not singular in 
his ideas upon the subject. Berengarius admitted the real 
Presence, which is necessary to render the holy rite a 
Sacrament in the strict sense of the term ; but he would 
not admit that substantial change in the elements upon 
which modern Romanists insist, in order that the Sacra- 
mental elements may become legitimate objects of adora- 
tion. — Cave. Dupin. Mosheim. Bowden. 

Berkeley, George. This great and good man, a saint 
of the Anglican Church, whose name is connected with 
the memorable line of Pope : 

To Berkeley every virtue under heaven ; 

was born on the 12th of March, 1684, at Kelchoin, near 
Thomas-town, in the county of Kilkenny, and from 
Kilkenny school, where he received the first part of his 
education, he removed at fifteen years of age to Trinity 
college, Dublin, of which college he became a fellow in 
1707. In that year he published his first work, which 
had been written before he was twenty years of age, 
Arithmetica absque Algebra aut Euclide demonstrata. 

The Essay towards the new Theory of Vision, was 
published in 1709. The author was then in his twenty- 
fifth year. Reid, who has endeavoured, throughout his 
Essays on the Powers of the Human Mind, to depreciate 
the labours of Berkeley in the same field, admits that "The 
Theory of Vision contains very important discoveries and 
marks of great genius." The work indeed contains two 
discoveries of very considerable importance, the one limited 
to the science of optics, the other of much more general 
application. First, Berkeley has clearly and very simply 
shewn that the eye is incapable of conveying to the mind 
the idea of distance, as measured from the spectator, by 
observing that such distance must be represented by a 

VOL. II z 


line placed with its end towards the eye, which would of 
course present to the eye a point only. Our notion of 
optical distance is in fact acquired by a continual series of 
experiments of the touch, and of the bodily motion required 
to bring ourselves in contact with an object, the presence 
of which only, but not its distance, is intimated to us by 
certain impressions on the eye. An infant may be observ- 
ed making those experiments, and stretching out its hand 
several times short of the object whose presence has been 
announced by the eye, before the distance is accurately 
ascertained. Persons who lose the sight of one eye are 
found also to require fresh experimental tuition in the 
measuring of distances ; and persons born blind from 
cataract, on being couched at mature years, have stated 
that the objects touched their eyes. The treatise contains 
many minor discoveries, also of considerable interest, with 
reference to the science of optics, which flow naturally as 
corollaries from the above ; and in particular the author 
suggests that " What we see are not solids, nor yet planes 
variously coloured, they are only diversity of colours." In 
truth, if there were no colour there would be no visible 
figure, as may easily be seen if one were to attempt to 
delineate a circle or any other figure on a coloured surface 
with a brush dipped in precisely the same colour : whilst 
the colour is wet it will be in fact a different colour, and 
will therefore shew the circle, but when it becomes dry 
no figure will be visible for want of a difference of colour ; 
so if there were nothing but white uncoloured light in 
nature, and it were capable of passing freely through all 
bodies assuming no shade, (i. e. no contrast of colour) 
there would be no visible figure. 

The second of the discoveries we have referred to is this, 
that tangible figure is wholly distinct from visible figure ; 
in other words, that the table we see is not that which we 
touch. The table we see, if it be circular, will appear in 
most positions an oval to the eye, it will be smaller as we 
retire from it, and larger as we approach it, and will be 


continually shifting its form as we alter our position, as 
every person acquainted with drawing must be well aware. 
These changes do not occur in the tangible table. Simple 
as this remark appears, yet as Reid has observed, (in refer- 
ence to this discovery) "the notion of extension and figure 
which we get from sight only, and that which we get from 
touch, have been so constantly conjoined from our infancy 
that it required great abilities to distinguish them accu- 
rately, and to assign to each sense what truly belongs to 
it." This point, says Reid again, " Berkeley has laboured 
through the whole of the Essay on Vision with that un- 
common penetration and judgment which he possessed. 
The experiment has in fact since been repeatedly made in 
the cases of persons operated on for cataract to which they 
had been subject from birth. They have been unable to 
distinguish a dog, for instance, from a cat by sight till after 
repeated trial, handling each animal first, and then looking 
at it, as a child learns to refer the letters, when spelling; 
to the pictures of the animals in his spelling-book. The 
visible object is a translation of the tangible into another 
language — aud vice versa." 

We have said that this second discovery admits of 
very general application. It must have originally required 
much mental effort thus to sever ideas associated with 
each other from the earliest period of our existence, and 
there can be little doubt that Berkeley was thus led to his 
more extended speculations on what has been usually 
termed the existence of matter. In fact his great work, 
entitled " The Principles of Human Knowledge," was pub- 
lished-in 1710, the year after the New Theory of Vision, 
and this was followed in 1713, by " Three Dialogues be- 
tween Hylas and Philonous," in which the same views are 
enforced, but in the more popular form of dialogues, writ- 
ten, too, in a style to which nothing can be found com- 
parable except that of Plato. 

No work has been so much misunderstood, or mis- 
represented, as "The Principles of Human Knowledge." 
Berkeley was led by the brilliant results of his analysis of 


the mental operations, relative to visible and tangible 
figure, to apply his genius to a searching investigation of 
the received notions as to material substance. It is now 
admitted by all that these notions were in Berkeley's time 
most unsatisfactory. We cannot here discuss the various 
opinions of the ancient heathen philosophers on this con- 
fessedly difficult subject, but they appear to have agreed 
in regarding matter as co-eternal with, and therefore in- 
dependent of, the Deity ; and the piety of Berkeley contri- 
buted not a little to stimulate him in those researches, 
which terminated (as it appeared to him) in a demonstra- 
tion, that the very existence of matter independently of 
the Divine mind, cannot even be conceived. The system 
of the heathen philosophers was not, as far as regards the 
eternity of matter, adopted by Christians ; but various un- 
satisfactory explanations were resorted to for the purpose of 
reconciling the dogmas of Aristotle with the accounts of 
the creation, which it has pleased God Himself to reveal 
to us. Des Cartes is entitled to the merit of venturing 
among the first to question these dogmas or heathen tra- 
ditions, as to the origin and nature of the inanimate world; 
and his writings, together with those of other meta- 
physicians down to and including Locke and Malebranche, 
contributed no doubt to clear the way to those principles 
which were regarded by Berkeley as the foundation of our 
knowledge. But the difficulty was great with regard to the 
nature of what has been called matter. The term itself 
is derived from the old heathen philosophy, which treated 
of it as the necessary eternal material from which the 
Deity formed the world, it being with them a maxim that 
" nothing can be made of nothing ;" for they never rose to 
the conception of an all powerful mind which can originate, 
or to the distinction between creating and making. They 
imagined that the operations of creation required a sub- 
stance to work on, as a human artist, in making a watch, 
for instance, must be furnished with the brass and steel 
of which it is formed. Now, whilst reasoning upon a 
different basis, and admitting the creation of matter by 


God, the modern philosophers had great difficulty in 
describing of what it consists. For, according to their view, 
there was still a necessity for the substratum or ground- 
work of all existing things perceived by the senses; but as 
this matter must be common to every thing, it became 
difficult to define what common thing there is in gold, 
lead, stone, animal and vegetable frames, solids, liquids, 
air, &c. And after much thought Locke was brought to 
admit that extension, solidity, figure, and motion, were 
the only qualities he could assign as essential to, and in- 
separable from, matter ; whilst he conceived colour, sound, 
taste, smell, heat, and cold, to be due to powers in given 
bodies to excite those sensations in our minds. Now to 
Berkeley this system appeared so vague that he was led to 
analyze more clearly what it is which produces the im- 
pression of the so-called matter in our minds, and whether 
there be really any such common material substance as 
was supposed. Take, for instance, a bell into your hands 
and riDg it, what more do you know about it than this — 
your eyes are impressed with one class of sensations, your 
hands (with which you may feel the hardness and form of 
the bell) with another, your ears with another, and to all 
this combination of sensations you give the name of a 
bell. But do you know the ultimate cause of any one 
class of these sensations, namely, the colour, or sound, 
any more than the ultimate cause of the hardness and 
form which you feel with your hands ? Is it then a sound 
distinction to say that solidity (or hardness) and figure 
are essential qualities, resembling something in the body 
itself, whilst the colour and sound are merely secondary 
qualities arising from a power in the bell to excite them '? 
or rather, in fact, are not the solidity and figure just as 
much the objects of sensation as the colour and sound, 
being perceived by the fingers and touch, instead of by 
the eyes and ears. If you were to see a painted bell your 
eyes would immediately inform you of one class of sensa- 
tions, which, by former experience of your hands and ears, 


you have associated with the thing called a bell ; if a bell 
without a clapper be presented to you, you bring another 
class of sensations into play by touching it ; if the clapper 
be added, another class of sensations is produced on ringing 
it, and the bell is complete : but after all you have nothing 
more than a series of sensations, nor, try as you will, can you 
form any conception of matter which does not necessarily 
involve on the one hand as its definition, that it is either 
seen, heard, tasted, smelt, or felt, or which admits on the 
other hand of any test of its existence except by means 
of one of those senses at least. Berkeley was thus led to 
conclude that what has been termed matter in reality means 
nothing more than the fact of our consciousness of divers 
bundles of sensations ; for, take away the hardness which 
you feel, the weight which presses on your hand, the colour, 
the sound of the bell, and what remains of the fancied sub- 
stratum of all these? If this be so, it follows that the so- 
called material objects are brought by analysis to a con- 
sciousness of certain sensations. It follows that if there be 
no existing being capable of consciousness, there is no 
possibility of conceiving the existence of matter ; which 
depends therefore for its very existence on mind, instead, as 
the heathens supposed, being the necessary substratum for 
mind to work on. But now let us revert to the instance 
of the bell ; we find that the visible image impresses itself 
necessarily on our eyes if we open them — the tangible on 
our fingers if we stretch them out in a given direction, 
namely, to the place where the bell is. These sensations 
are wholly independent of our own will, quite different 
from the recollections which we can bring up in our minds, 
or from any other original act of our own : they are some- 
thing therefore different from ourselves. The act of seeing, 
&c, therefore gives us both the sensation and also a know- 
ledge of the existence of a cause of it, independent of our 
own minds. Here it is that Berkeley has been so much 
misunderstood and misrepresented. He has never ques- 
tioned the existence of a cause of our sensations indepen- 


dent of ourselves ; but lie has said the existence of what is 
called matter is the existence of sensations, and the exist- 
ence of sensations implies the existence of a sentient 
being, and that some such being must exist, or what has 
been called matter cannot exist. He infers the existence 
of other minds by shewing that many sensations occur 
which we are conscious we did not originate, and cannot 
terminate ; some of these are such as we would by due 
instruction originate, and we infer, therefore, that they 
have been originated by beings like ourselves. Thus if 
we see a watch made by the watchmaker, or to use our 
former instance, a bell, and find we could by being taught 
make a watch or a bell ourselves, we infer the existence 
of a mind similar to our own, which has originated the 
peculiar combination of sensations before us, and which 
we call by the names of watch and bell ; but if we ana- 
lyze the component sensations into a simpler form, and 
consider the sensations produced by the brass and steel, 
and the sensations of their weight, hardness, and the like, 
which we cannot originate, or conceive a being like our- 
selves to have originated, we are led to infer the existence 
of a creative Being, who originates that particular class of 
sensations, and in whose mind they may exist even if all 
created minds were destroyed. This Being, and not a 
mysterious undefined substratum, then, is, accordino- to 
Berkeley, the cause of all the varied combinations of sen- 
sations to which we give names ; and He, i. e. God, has 
willed that such sensations should come in associated 
groups : e. g. that the bright sensation we call light should 
usually te attended with the burning sensation of heat ; 
it is not always so, for the glow worm, and fire fly, do not 
burn, though a child would probably expect them to do 
so. God might doubtless, if he pleased, at once cause 
water to burn, and fire to occasion the sensation of cold. 
Every thing called matter (as we perceive it) is, in other 
words, a group of sensations, ordered according to a given 
law, which law we did not originate, and cannot vary. It 
is independent of, rather than external to, the mind ; for it 


is gross materialism to speak literally of the inside or out- 
side of the mind, for mind is not extended, and has no 
parts, like a cup or vessel : so that in talking of things 
being external to the mind, all philosophers (except mate- 
rialists) must be assumed to speak metaphorically. 

We shall now perceive how much Berkeley has been 
misrepresented by those who have pretended to refute 
him ; aud as Reid is supposed by many to have succeeded 
in such refutation, it will be sufficient to expose briefly 
his mis-statement of the case. In one passage of his Essay 
Reid states, correctly enough, that "Berkeley acknow- 
ledges that material things have a real existence out of 
the mind of this or that person, but that the question 
between him and the materialist is, whether they have an 
absolute existence distinct from their being perceived by 
God ?" This is fairly stated, yet the same opponent after- 
wards states the question thus, " How are we astonished 
when the philosopher informs us that the sun and moon 
which we see are not, as we imagine, many miles distant 
from us and from each other, but that they are in our 
owd mind ; that they had no existence before we saw 
them, and will have none when we cease to perceive and 
to think of them, because the objects we perceive are only 
ideas in our own minds, which can have no existence a 
moment longer than we think of them " He then pro- 
ceeds to refute this last absurd supposition, which it is 
needless to say is merely fighting with a shadow of his 
own creation. The first extract alone contains Berkeley's 
view, and the result of his whole system is this, — That 
God, by an act of His will, causes our minds to have 
certain sensations in uniform order, and uniformly asso- 
ciated. How and in what form the Divine mind may be 
conscious itself of sensations he, of course, presumes not 
to say ; but to all men's minds these sensations occur 
alike, whether men desire them or not, independently 
therefore of any one man's mind, or of his thinking of 

Some very remarkable consequences are deducible 


from Berkeley's views. His main object, indeed, was to 
vindicate God's existence thereby, and he has beauti- 
fully expanded this branch of the subject in his Minute 
Philosopher. As one illustration we may mention his 
conclusive argument against any difficulty arising from 
God Himself not being the object of our senses — for nei- 
ther are men such. Man makes himself known to us 
indeed by voice, gesture, &c, through the medium there- 
fore of our senses ; but who could say that any one of our 
senses really perceives the sentient being constituting the 
man. That invisible being does acts independent of and 
similar to our own, and is therefore a real active being 
like ourselves, but this is an inference only, though a sure 
one. The same remark applies to God, His acts are per- 
ceivable every where by such sensations as neither we nor 
any one else like ourselves can originate, therefore, the 
acts are originated by a Being above us, and all other 
beings like us. 

It was noticed by Arthur Collier, who, in 1713, published 
a work called Clavis Universalis, and adopted the views of 
Berkeley, though it is not clear that he had seen his 
work, that the doctrine of transubstantiation is effectually 
disposed of by this theory; for if the notion of a sub- 
stratum be removed, then, where all the sensations are the 
same, the thing or object must be the same. 

The resolving also of cause and effect into a constant 
sequence of certain sensations in given order, which was 
afterwards dilated upon by Brown, is clearly stated by 
Berkeley, whom Brown in the notes to his work abuses, 
without acknowledging his obligations to him. 

The view of Berkeley differed from that of Malebranche 
materially, for the latter conceived that we saw all things 
by our own mind's being united with the Deity, which 
doctrine followed up would seem to lead to Pantheism, 
and to destroy man's independent existence. 

But, from the speculation of Berkeley, we must now 
pass on to the consideration of the facts connected with 
his life. He took his doctor's degree in 17^1, and the 


year following he was made by Mrs Vanhomrich, Swift's 
Vanessa, one of her executors, by which circumstance he 
obtained a legacy of £4000. In 1724 he was advanced to 
the deanery of Deny. 

He might now, with the majority of his contemporaries, 
have sought only his own ease and comfort. But his mind 
had been employed on the truly Christian project of 
converting " the savage Americans to Christianity by a 
college to be erected on the Summer Islands, otherwise 
called the Isles of Bermuda." It is easy to devise plans 
of benevolence, to support their cause by eloquent speeches 
and the plaudits of admiring friends, and by an annual 
subscription of which the loss is scarcely felt. But dean 
Berkeley was in earnest in the scheme that he proposed, 
and immediately offered to resign his comfortable deanery, 
the delights of literary society, and his large income, that 
he might dedicate the remainder of his life to the instruc- 
tion of youth in America, reserving to himself only £100 
a-year. To the honour of the age it must be mentioned, that 
three fellows of Trinity college, Dublin, were found ready 
to follow his example, and to give up their fellowships, 
and all those high prospects at home, to which a Dublin 
fellowship was at that time supposed to lead. They went 
with him, having a salary of £40 a-year. The plan being 
sanctioned by George the First and his ministers, a grant 
of £20,000 was made for the establishment of the college, 
and, in 1728, our noble-minded missionary sailed for 
America. In America he remained for two years and a 
half at Newport, in Rhode Island, winning the love and 
respect of all who approached him. He rallied around 
him the few Catholic clergy who were then in America, 
who held a kind of quarterly synod at his house, and he 
was busily employed in preaching the gospel, and in 
administering the sacraments in various destitute places, 
while to the church at Newport he presented an organ 
for the more decent celebration of the divine offices. But 
notwithstanding his exertions, every attempt to realize the 
object which took him across the Atlantic failed. The 


money which had been voted to him had been appropriated 
by government in another way ; and when bishop Gibson 
applied to sir Robert Walpole upon the subject, the reply 
of the minister was, " If you put this question to me as 
minister, I must and can assure you that the money shall 
most undoubtedly be paid as soon as suits the public 
convenience ; but if you ask me as a friend whether dean 
Berkeley should continue in America, expecting the pay- 
ment of £20,000, I advise him by all means to return 
home to Europe, and to give up his present expectations.' - 
Mortifying as this circumstance was, Dr Berkeley had 
nothing else to do than to follow the advice of bishop 
Gibson, his diocesan, and to submit. With his usual 
generosity, he gave his house and a hundred acres of 
cultivated land around it to Yale and Haward colleges, 
and he gave books to the value of £500 to those in- 
stitutions and the clergy of Rhode Island ; and quitted 
America in September, 1731. 

On his return home he published that masterly per- 
formance, the Minute Philosopher, in which he pursues 
the free-thinker through the various characters of atheist, 
libertine, enthusiast, scorner, critic, metaphysician, fatalist, 
sceptic; and employs against him, with peculiar dexterity, 
several new weapons drawn from the storehouse of his own 
ingenious system of philosophy. It is written in a series 
of dialogues on the model of Plato, and it seemed to the 
late bishop Jebb to be so well adapted to the present age, 
that this admirable prelate designed a re-publication of it 
with notes of his own, had he not been summoned to his 
rest before he could accomplish this and other useful 
works, which he contemplated for the benefit of the 

Dr Berkeley was at this time a frequent guest at those 
hebdomadal parties which Caroline, the queen of George II, 
was accustomed to give to persons of established intellec- 
tual celebrity. Here he had the honour of being supported 
by Sherlock, and perhaps the greater honour of being 
opposed by Hoadly and Clarke. 


In May, 1733, he was consecrated bishop of Cloyne. 
In 1745 he had the offer of the more valuable bishopric of 
Clogher, but refused to leave his diocese, where he con- 
stantly resided, and to the duties of which he paid 
unremitting attention. In like manner when he might 
have obtained the primacy he declined it, saying, " I 
desire to add one more to the list of churchmen who are 
dead to avarice and ambition." 

Soon after his consecration he published the Analyst, 
in which he argues that mathematical knowledge makes 
far larger demands than Christianity, upon the implicit 
acquiescence of mankind. 

Towards the close of life his health failed him, and 
finding relief from tar water, he published his Siris ; a 
wonderful instance of the fertility of his genius, and at 
the same time of the weakness of the strongest minds. It 
was written to establish the virtues of tar water as a 
medicine, and the effects ascribed to it are such as quack 
advertisers of all times attribute to their medicines. 
They, however, wilfully deceive ; Berkeley was induced to 
generalize hastily on a subject on which he had but very 
partial knowledge, by a wish to impart to others the bene- 
fits he conceived he had derived from the medicine. But 
his fruitful mind could not be stirred on any subject in 
vain ; the weeds indicated the fertility of the soil, and the 
Essay on Tar Water concludes with some of the most soul 
ennobling disquisitions on high and abstruse points of 
philosophy and divinity. It is divided into ten sections, 
the first of which is " Tar Water how made." The fourth to 
the seventh represent it as "A cure for foulness of blood, 
ulceration of bowels, lungs, consumptive coughs, pleurisy, 
peripneumony, erysipelas, asthma, indigestion, cachectic 
and hysteric cases, gravel, dropsy, and all inflammations." 
And the last sections are " The Study of Plato recom- 
mended, who agrees with Scripture in many particulars. 
His opinion of the Deity, and particularly of a Trinity, 
agreeable to Revelation." 


He now longed to retire from public life, and while 
preparing for the great change awaiting him, to give him- 
self up to meditation. He wished to make Oxford his 
residence, that he might at the same time superintend 
the education of his son. He asked, therefore, to exchange 
his bishopric for a canomy of Christ-church. It is a sad 
infliction upon the English church that no provision is 
made for the retirement of bishops when they become too 
infirm for their work. Bishop Berkeley was not allowed 
to resign; but having obtained permission to reside where 
he pleased, he made a series of liberal arrangements at 
Cloyne, and then went to die at Oxford. He settled 
there in July, 1752, and died in January, 1753. He was 
placidly listening while his wife was reading the burial 
service, when he fell asleep in Jesus. So peaceful was 
the passage of his soul to the Church triumphant, that his 
death was not discovered by those around him, until he 
had become stiff and cold. Of him bishop Atterbury 
said, " So much understanding, knowledge, innocence, 
and humility, I should have thought confined to angels, 
had I never seen this gentleman." 

The facts are taken chiefly from the life of Berkeley 
prefixed to his works, and from the works themselves. 

Bernard, of Clairvaux, commonly called St Bernard, 
has been styled the last of the fathers, because he stands, 
as it were, on the confines of the system of the early 
Church, which contemplated God as He is in Himself, 
and that of the later ages, in which the mysterious deal- 
ings of God with the soul of the individual Christian 
were minutely analyzed. He wrote from Scripture and the 
fathers, and came not into that form of theology called 
scholastic, which, commencing in his time, became after- 
wards generally prevalent. He was born of a noble 
family, at Fontaines, near Dijon, in Burgundy, in the 
year 1091. His early education devolved on his pious 
mother, Aletta, his father, Tecelin, being too much en- 
gaged in deeds of arms to attend to the claims of his 

VOL. II. 2 A 


family. Dedicated by his mother to the service of the 
Church, from the time of his birth, he received the educa- 
tion necessary for holy orders at Chatillon ; but he lost 
the mother who had hitherto watched and prayed for 
him when he arrived at the age of fifteen. We have an 
account of Aletta*s death from a contemporary author, and 
as characteristic of the times it is here presented to the 
reader : — 

•■ Aletta was accustomed to celebrate the festival of 
St Ambrose, the patron of the church of Fontaines, by 
an annual feast, to which the neighbouring clergy were 
invited. On the vigil of that day, she was seized with a 
violent fever which confined her to her bed." (It appears 
that she had had a presentiment of her approaching death, 
which she had communicated to her husband and family. | 
" The next morning, she requested that the Holy Com- 
munion might be administered to her, and feeling strength- 
ened after its reception, she desired that the clergy would 
sit down to the feast she had provided. While they were 
at table, she sent for her eldest son Guido, and desired 
that he would request the company to repair to her cham- 
ber, when the repast was ended. When they were assem- 
bled, and standing round her bed, Aletta calmly announced 
that the moment of her departure was at hand, and en- 
treated their prayers. The ministers of the Lord began 
to read the litany, Aletta herself making the responses, 
as long as her breath lasted : but when the choir reached 
that veisicle, " By thy cross and passion, good Lord deli- 
ver us,"' the dying woman, commending her soul to God, 
raised her hand to make the sign of the cross, and in that 
attitude she expired ; giving up her spirit to the angels, 
by whom it was carried to the abode of the just. There 
it awaits in peace the re-union with the body at the great 
day of the resurrection, when our Lord and Advocate, 
- Christ, shall come to judge the quick and the dead."' 
Joan. Erem. p. 1300. 

>r says of Aletta. " She was often to be seen 
alone and on foot, on the road between Fontaines and 


Dijon, visiting the cottages of the poor, and carrying pro- 
visions and remedies to the sick and afflicted, and adminis- 
tering instruction and spiritual consolation to them. She 
never allowed her domestics to assist her in these offices, 
so that it might truly be said, that her left hand knew 
not what her right hand performed. Aletta was buried at 
Dijon, where her remains reposed for 140 years, at the 
end of which time they were removed to Clairvaux." 

In vain did the young nobles of his own age endeavour 
to dissuade Bernard from embracing a monastic life : he 
found little attraction in worldly pleasure, or in chivalrous 
exercises ; and though in the study of literature he might 
have found a more congenial pursuit, after a little waver- 
ing, he determined to fulfil the wishes of that beloved 
mother, to whose early instructions he was so deeply 
indebted. With reference to this determination, Bernard 
said in after years to his monks : 

" I am not ashamed to confess, that often, and par- 
ticularly at the beginning of my conversion, I expe- 
rienced great hardness of heart, and an extreme coldness. 
I sought after Him, whom my soul would fain love. 
Him, in whom my frozen spirit might repose and 
re-arjimate itself. But none came to succour me, and 
dissolve this strong ice which bound up all the spiritual 
senses, and to revive the sweetness and serenity of the 
spiritual spring, and thus my soul continued feeble and 
listless, a prey to grief, almost to despair, and murmuring 
internally. Who is able to abide His frost? Then on a 
sudden, and perhaps at the first word, or at the first sight 
of a spiritually- minded person, sometimes at the bare 
recollection of one dead or absent, the Holy Spirit would 
begin to breathe, and the waters to flow ; then would tears 
be my meat day and night." 

Xot only did Bernard determine to embrace the mon- 
astic life himself, but he was eloquent in persuading 
others to do the same. We subjoin one of Bernard's 
letters, as a specimen of the mode of argument he used 
with his friends : 


" The zeal which animates me is not of carnal growth, 
it springs from the desire of co-operating with you in 
working out our salvation. Nobility, strength, beauty, the 
pleasures of youth, the riches of the earth, palaces, places 
of dignity, the wisdom of this world, all these are to be 
found in the world. But how long will they last ? They 
will vanish with the world, — before the world, — for in the 
twinkling of an eye you will, yourself, have left the world. 
Life is short, the world passeth away, and you will pass 
awav before it. Why not then cease from loving that 
which will soon cease to be ? Oh my brother, come with- 
out delay, and unite yourself to a man who loves you with 
a sincere and lasting affection. Even death will not 
separate two hearts that religion has joined. The hap- 
piness which I desire for you, has respect neither to time 
nor to the body, and will subsist independent of either. 
And not only so ; it will increase when the body is de- 
stroyed, and when ' there shall be no more time.' And 
what comparison is there between this happiness and that 
offered by the world ? The supreme good is that, of which 
nothing can deprive you. And what is that ? Eye hath 
not seen, nor ear heard it ; neither hath it entered into 
the heart of man to conceive it, for flesh and blood are 
incapable of it, it must be revealed to us by the Spirit of 
God. Blessed are they who have understood this word, 
' Ye are my friends, what I have heard of my Father that 
have I shown you.' " Ep. 107. 

On another occasion, in writing to a young man, who 
was wavering in his resolution, he says, " Why should you 
be surprised to find yourself still fluctuating between good 
and evil, before you have yet placed your feet on the solid 
ground? Oh that you could apprehend my meaning! 
Only Thou, my God, must discover to the eye of man, the 
things which Thou hast prepared for them that love Thee. 
'Come unto me,' saith the Saviour, 'all ye that labour 
and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.' Do you fear 
then to want strength, when it is the Truth that has pro- 


inised to support you? May God grant you the knowledge 
of His law, and of His will." Ep. -206. 

His humility prevented him from forming a new- 
religious order, like other men of eminent piety, his 
contemporaries; and his enthusiasm and the reality of his 
religious impressions induced him to seek the most poorly 
endowed abbey with which he was acquainted. This was 
the convent of Citeaux, (Cistercians) situated in a barren 
wilderness iu the diocese of Chalons-sur-Saone, and founded 
in the year 1098 by Robert, a nobleman of Champagne. 
Over this convent, in which the Benedictine rule was 
observed with more than its primitive severity, Stephen 
Harding, an Englishman, presided. To this monastery, 
at the age of twenty-three, Bernard retired with more than 
thirty associates, including among the number four of his 
brothers. With a delicate constitution, he quitted the 
luxuries of aristocratic life, and entered the strictest order 
of the day, to become a poor man, a rustic ; for manual 
labour in the fields sometimes, and sometimes in the 
kitchen, and in sweeping the dormitory, formed part of 
the rule. He was never willing to give up this portion of 
the discipline, though his delicate frame could ill bear the 
fatigue. He is said to have become an expert reaper. 
But bodily labour was not suffered to preclude mental 
exertion, and it was in the cloister of Citeaux that Bernard 
acquired his wonderful knowledge of the Scriptures, 
meditating upon them before the morning light. Even 
during his labours in the field he could bring his mind to 
sacred meditation, and his feelings were alive to the in- 
spiring beauties of inanimate nature : at a later period of 
his life we find him saying, "take the testimony of my own 
experience, and, believe me, thou wilt find more in woods 
than in books ; and trees and stones will teach thee more 
than thou canst learn from man." The subject of his 
continual meditations was the sufferings of our blessed 
Lord and Saviour. It was from meditating on hi- 
viouris cross that he was so eager to take up his own. He 


was wont to compare this exercise, says Neander, to the 
nosegay of myrrh, that the spouse in the Canticles had 
gathered with pious care to plant in her bosom. In one 
of the sermons on the Canticles he thus expresses himself 
on the subject: — " From the very beginning of my con- 
version, my brethren, feeling my own great deficiency in 
virtue, I appropriated to myself this nosegay of myrrh, 
composed of all the sufferings and the pains of my Saviour; 
of the privations to which He submitted in His childhood ; 
the labours that He endured in His preaching; the fatigue 
that He underwent in His journeyings ; of His watchings 
in prayer, His temptations in fasting, His tears of compas- 
sion; of the snares that were laid for Him in His words ; 
of His perils among false brethren ; of the outrages, the 
spitting, the smiting, the mockery, the insults, the nails ; 
in a word, of all the grief of all kinds that He submitted to 
for the salvation of man. I have discovered that wisdom 
consists in meditating on these things, and that in them 
alone is the perfection of justice, the plenitude of know- 
ledge, the riches of salvation, and the abundance of merit ; 
and in these contemplations I find relief from sadness, 
moderation in success, and safety in the royal highway of 
this life ; so that I march on between the good and evil, 
scattering on either side the perils by which I am menaced. 
This is the reason why I always have these things in my 
mouth, as you know, and always in my heart, as God 
knows ; they are habitually recurring in my writings, as 
every one may see ; and my most sublime philosophy is to 
know Jesus Christ, and Him crucified/' Serm. 43, in 
Cant. C antic. 

The reputation of Bernard drew many votaries to Ci- 
teaux, where, till his appearance among them, the society 
had long lived in apprehension of gradual extinction; for 
persons naturally dreaded an asceticism which, however 
admirable according to the notions of the age, they con- 
sidered to be above the ordinary strength of man. But the 
influence and the example of Bernard changed the whole 


aspect of affairs, and devotees from all quarters nocked to 
the convent. In 1115, Bernard was sent by the abbot 
with twelve associates to found a uew establishment on 
the Cistercian system. The site had been granted to the 
abbot Stephen Harding, by Hugo, a knight of Champagne, 
who had been previously urged by devotional feeling to 
undertake a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre, and who 
subsequently joined the knights templars. It was a wild 
and desolate spot, in the bishopric of Langres. The place 
was called, for some unknown reason, the Valley of Worm- 
wood, (Vallis Absinthialis) and had been the haunt of 
robbers ; but since the extirpation of this plant it had 
been called the clear or bright valley, (Clara-vallis) or 
Clair- vaux. To found a monastery here Bernard was sent 
from Citeaux. The ceremonial observed was simple and 
affecting. After a solemn service, the newly-elected abbot 
received from the hands of the president of the monastery 
a cross ; he then rose, and quitted the church, followed 
by his twelve associates, and, having taken leave of the 
brethren, the community departed chanting an appropriate 
psalm. "When," says the Cistercian Chronicle, "Bernard 
and his twelve monks silently took their departure from 
the church, you might have seen tears in the eyes of all pre- 
sent, while nothing was to be heard but the voices of those 
who were singing the hymns ; and even those brethren 
could not repress their sobs, in spite of that sense of reli- 
gion which led them to make the strongest efforts to com- 
mand their feelings. Those who remained, and those 
who departed, were all involved in one common sorrow, 
till the procession reached that gate which was to open for 
some, and to close upon the rest." Ann. Cist. 1. n. 6, 7, 
p. 79. 

Clairvaux and Morimont, founded in 1115, with the 
abbeys of La Ferto and Pontigny, established the one in 
the year 1113, the other in 1114, were called Les quatres 
filles de Citeaux. 

The work in which they were engaged was no easy task, 
and no very agreeable duty : the privations to which the 


poor monks were obliged for many months to submit are 
almost unheard of. Incessantly occupied in the erection 
of their monastic buildings, they had no opportunity of 
gaining their bread by their labours ; and, as they had 
taken possession of the marshy desert that had been given 
up to them too late for sowing the ground, the earth of 
course yielded them no fruits : and the neighbouring pro- 
prietors, who had at first testified great admiration at the 
conduct of the devotees, and vied with each other in ad- 
ministering to their wants, became equally familiar with 
their sanctity and their necessities, and ceased to regard 
either. A coarse bread made of barley and millet, and 
beech leaves cooked in salt and water, formed their only 
nourishment ; and this, too, at the beginning of the winter 
season. At last their supply of salt was exhausted, and 
the hearts of some of the fraternity began to fail them ; 
but Bernard, calling to him one of the brethren, desired 
him to take the ass and buy salt at the market. The man 
prepared to do the bidding of his superior, but before he 
set out he asked for money to pay for the commodity. 
" Take faith," replied Bernard, "for as to money I know 
not when we shall have any ; but He who holds my purse 
in His hands, and who is the depository of my treasure, is 
above." The monk smiled, and rejoined, " It seemeth to 
me, my father, that if I go empty handed, I shall return 
empty handed." " Nevertheless, go," replied the abbot ; 
" and go in faith. I tell thee that our Great Treasurer 
will be with thee, and will supply all thy necessities." 
On this the poor friar, after receiving the benediction of 
his superior, set out with the ass on his journey. On his 
way "the God of all consolation was pleased to assist him, 
says the chronicler ; for, meeting a priest who accosted 
him, and inquired his business, Guibert (for that was the 
name of the messenger) told his errand, and made known 
the penury of his convent ; and the priest, touched with 
compassion, took him to his own home, and supplied him 
abundantly with all sorts of provisions. On Guibert's 
return with his replenished panniers, Bernard said to him, 


" I tell you, my son, nothing is more necessary to a Chris- 
tian than faith : hold fast faith, and it will be well with 
thee all the days of thy life." These succours, and others 
equally unexpected, were however merely temporary, and 
Clairvaux soon relapsed into a condition of absolute desti- 
tution. The monks, exposed to cold and hunger and 
other privations, gave themselves up to despair, and openly 
manifested their wish of returning to Citeaux. Bernard 
himself was so far overpowered by witnessing the moral 
and personal sufferings of his brethren, that his health gave 
way, and he became incapable of preaching to them, and 
they were thus deprived at once of bodily and of spiritual 
sustenance. This state of things, which lasted sixteen or 
seventeen months, required all the influence and exertion 
of Bernard to prevent the utter dissolution of the infant 
establishment, and to turn this severe trial to the advan- 
tage of his brethren. At the expiration of this term many 
rich offerings were made to the convent, and the ground 
first broken by the labours of the starving monks, began 
to yield them her fruit, and to supply their most urgent 

Of this monastery Bernard became the first abbot, and 
by his energy, talent and self-denial, which seemed in the 
eyes of his contemporaries to be miraculous, he soon ren- 
dered the Cistercian order celebrated : nine abbeys in the 
short space of five years sprung from Citeaux, and a con- 
stitution was formed for the rising order. Men of illus- 
trious descent, who had formerly played a distinguished 
part on the theatre of the world, now by their hard labour, 
in the sweat of their brow, and by their ascetic self-denial, 
followed the example of Bernard. The most costly offer- 
ings were presented to the convent, and prepared for 
Clairvaux the great wealth that in the course of some 
decades of years it acquired. 

" The wealth of the convents," as Neander remarks, " was 
advantageous to the state, because the monks knew how to 
make the best use of it. In times of scarcity they often 
supplied hundreds of the poor with food. On occasion of 


a great scarcity in Burgundy, the starving peasants nocked 
in such numbers to Clairvaux, that Bernard, finding he 
could not hope to afford nourishment to all till the next 
harvest, selected tivo thousand, whom he distinguished by 
a particular mark (accepit sub signaculo), and engaged to 
support entirely, while the rest received some smaller alms. 
V. Joh. Eremit. vit. Bernard, lib. ii. N. 6. ap. Mabill. t, ii. 
The monks of the Prsemonstratensian abbey, founded by 
Norbert, undertook, in his absence, to supply five hundred 
poor persons with food during a scarcity. V. vit. Norbert. 
The clergy in general promoted the exercise of benevolence. 
The highly-esteemed Hugh, bishop of Grenoble, finding 
his resources inadequate to support the numbers who 
resorted to him during a famine, sold all his costly 
church plate, to buy food for them. Bernard instructed his 
friend the count Theobald, " eleemosynas ea sagacitate 
dispone re, ut semper fructificantes redivivis et renascen- 
tibus accessionibus novas semper eleemosynas parturiunt," 
1. ii. auct. Ernald. cap. viii. N. 52." 

The extreme mortifications of Bernard impaired his 
health so much, that on one occasion William of Cham- 
peaux, bishop of Chalons-sur-Marne, to whom he applied 
for abbatical ordination, interfered, and obtained from the 
Cistercian chapter the superintendence of his friend for 
one year. He caused a sort of hut to be erected for him 
beyond the cloisters, where he was to remain for a year, 
without interfering in any way with the affairs of the 
monastery: but it does not appear from the account which 
is given of his retreat by his friend the abbot, William of 
St. Thierry, he was much benefited by the change." 

"It was," says he, "about this time (1116) that my 
visits to Clairvaux commenced, and, coming to see the 
saint in company with another abbot, I found him in 
his cell, which was similar to those usually assigned to 
leprous persons on the highways. He had been re- 
lieved from the presidence of the convent by the com- 
mands of the bishop and the chapter, and was then 
enjoying a state of perfect tranquillity, living to God, and 


transported with joy, as though he had already tasted the 
delights of Paradise. When I entered this chamber of 
royalty, and began to contemplate the lodgings and the 
guest, I was penetrated with the most profound respect ; 
and, on entering into conversation with this man, I found 
such vivacity and such a sweetness in his discourse, that 
I conceived a strong desire to remain with him, and to 
share his poverty ; so that, if I could have chosen my lot 
among all the world has to offer, I should have desired 
none other than that of staying always with the man of 
God as his servitor. 

" After he had welcomed us with gracious kindness, we 
proceeded to ask what he did, and how he passed his life in 
this cell. He replied with that benevolent smile which is 
habitual to him, ' I do well, very well here ; for formerly 
reasonable beings submitted themselves to my orders ; 
now, by the just judgment of God, I am obliged to submit 
myself to a man devoid of reason. ' This he said in refer- 
ence to a conceited quack who had boastfully engaged to 
cure him, and to whose charge he had been committed by 
the bishop and the community. We sat at table with 
him, expecting to find him under the strictest regimen for 
the re-establishment of his precious health, so essential to 
all; but when we saw him served, and by the doctor's 
orders, with viands so coarse and revolting (lumps of 
rancid butter coustituted part of the fare), that a hungry 
person in good health would scarcely be persuaded to touch 
them, we were indignant, and our vow of silence alone 
withheld us from treating this empiric as a murderer and 
sacrilegious person. For the man of God, he was indif- 
ferent to these things, having lost all power of discrimin- 
ating the flavour of meats, his stomach being entirely dis- 
ordered, and incapable of performing its functions." (It 
appears from the details that Bernard had cempletely lost 
the power of digesting any sort of food.) 

" Such was the state in which I found this servant of 
Jesus Christ; such was his manner of life in his solitude ; 


but he was not alone, — God and His holy angels were 
with him." 

Of the diet commonly observed at Clairvaux, we have 
an account in the record of the visit of pope Innocent : — 

" The bread, instead of being of fine wheaten flour, was 
of bran mingled with flour ; instead of sweet wine, there 
was the juice of herbs (sap a, evidently the modem soup) ; 
and, in the place of all kinds of meat, there was nothing 
but vegetables ; or if, by chance, there happened to be any 
fish, it was placed before our lord the pope, rather to be 
looked at than to be eaten." Ernald. cap. i. No. 6, p. 1109. 

The following is a copy of a translation of the Benedic- 
tine rule, given by Fosbrooke : — 

" Abbot to represent Christ — to call all his monks to 
council in important affairs, and afterwards adopt the 
advice he thought best. Obedience without delay ; silence ; 
no sensuality, idle words, or such as excite laughter; 
humility; patience in all injuries ; manifestation of secret 
faults to the abbot ; contentment with the meanest things 
and employments ; not to speak unasked ; to avoid laugh- 
ter ; head and eyes inclined downwards ; to rise to church 
two hours after midnight; every week the psalter to be 
sung through ; to leave the church altogether, at a sign 
from the superior ; a dean over every ten monks in large 
houses ; light in the dormitory ; to sleep clothed, with 
their girdles on, the young and old intermixed. Upon 
successless admonition and public reprehension, excom- 
munication; and, in failure of this, personal chastise- 
ment. For light faults, the smaller excommunication, 
or eating alone after the others had done ; for great faults, 
separation from the table, prayers, and society, and 
neither himself nor food to receive the benediction ; those 
who joined him, or spoke to him, to be themselves ex- 
communicated ; the abbot to send seniors to persuaJe 
him to humility, and making satisfaction; the whole con- 
gregation to pray for the offender, and, if successless, 
to proceed to expulsion. No person expelled to be 


received after the third expulsion. Children to be 
punished by fasting or whipping. Cellarer to do nothing 
without the abbofs order, and in large houses to have 
assistants. Habits and goods of the house to be in the 
hands of proper officers, the abbot to have an account of 
them. No property; distribution according to every one's 
necessities. The monks to serve weekly, and by turns, at 
the kitchen and table. On leaving their week, he that 
leaves and he that begins it, to wash the feet of the others, 
and on Saturday to clean all the plates, and the linen 
which wiped the others' feet. To resign the dishes clean 
and whole to the cellarer, who delivers them to the new 
hebdomadary. Those officers to have drink and food 
above the common allowance, before the others, that they 
may wait upon them cheerfully. The hebdomadaries, 
both entering and retiring from office, were, on solemn 
days, to continue till the masses ; after matins on the 
Sunday, to kneel and beg the others to pray for them ; 
then, those going out, to say a certain prayer three times, 
and receive the benediction ; the one coming in to do the 
same, and, after benediction, to enter into office. 

" Infirmary — its offices. Use of the baths, and flesh 
for the sick ordered. Rule mitigated to children and old 
men, who had leave to anticipate the hours of eating. 
Refection in silence, and reading Scripture during meals. 
"What was wanted, to be asked for by a sign. Reader to be 
appointed for the week. Two different dishes at dinner, 
with fruit. One pound of bread a-day, for both dinner 
and supper. No meat but to the sick. Three-quarters 
of a pint of wine daily. From Holyrood to Lent, dine at 
nones ; in Lent till Easter, at six o'clock ; from Easter to 
Lentward, at sextand all summer, except on Wednesdays 
and Fridays, then at nones. Collation or spiritual lecture 
every i ight before complin (after supper), and, complin 
finished, silence. Loss of rank, subtraction of wine or 
their allowance, or sitting in the place of disgrace, for 
tardiness at church or table. Prostration with the face to 
vol. ii -2 b 


the ground, without the church gate, when the monks 
went to pray, for the excommunicated. Immediate pardon 
to be sought for. A fault in the chant, faults in other 
places, or breaking anything, to be spontaneously acknow- 
ledged before the abbot and congregation. Abbot to give 
the signal for goiug to church, and nobody to sing or read 
there without his leave. Work from prime till near ten 
o'clock; from Easter till Cal. October, from ten till near 
twelve, reading. After refection, at twelve the meridian 
or sleep, unless any one preferred reading. After nones, 
labour again till the evening. From Cal. Oct. to Lent, 
reading till eight a. m. ; then trine, and after labour till 
nones. After refection, reading or psalmody. In Lent, 
reading till trine ; doing what was ordered till ten ; deli- 
very of the books at this season made. Senior to go 
round the house, and see that the monks were not idle. 
On Sunday all read, except the officers, and the idle and 
the infirm, who had work given them. Particular abstin- 
ence in Lent from meat, drink, and sleep, and especial 
gravity. Monks travelling, to say the canonical hours 
wherever they may happen to be. Monks staying out 
beyond a day not to eat abroad without the abbot's leave. 
No other use than that of prayer to be made of the 
church. Strangers to be received with prayers by them 
and the monks ; the kiss of peace, prostration, and wash- 
ing their feet, as of Christ, whom they represented ; then 
to be led to prayer, the Scriptures read to them ; after 
which the prior might break his fast (except on a high 
fast.) Abbot's kitchen distinct from that of the visitors, 
so that the monks might not be disturbed by the entrance 
of guests at unreasonable hours. No letters or presents 
to be received without the abbot's leave. Abbot to invite 
his monks when he had no strangers. Workmen in the 
house to labour for the common profit. Novices to be 
tried by denial and hard labour before admission ; rule 
read to them in the interim every fourth month ; admitted 
by a petition laid upon the altar, and prostration at the 


feet of all the monks. Parents to offer their children 
by wrapping their hands in the pall of the altar, pro- 
mising to leave nothing to them ; and, if they gave any- 
thing with them, reserving the use of it during their lives. 
Priests requesting admission to be tried by delays ; to sit 
near the abbot, but not to exercise sacerdotal functions 
without leave, and to conform to the rule. Strange 
monks to be received, and if good, entreated to stay. 
Monks ordained priests, to be subject to the rule and 
officers, or else expelled. Precedence, according to the 
time of profession. Elders to call the juniors brothers, 
the juniors to call the elders nonnos ; the abbot Dominus 
or Peter. When two monks met, the junior was to ask 
benediction of the senior ; and when he passed by, the 
junior was to rise and give him his seat, nor to sit till he 
had time. Abbot to be elected by the whole society, and 
plurality of votes, his life and prudence to be the qualifi- 
cations. Prior elected by the abbot, deposable for dis- 
obedience. Porter to be a wise old man, able to give and 
receive an answer ; he was to have a cell near the gate, 
and a junior for a companion. If possible to prevent 
evagation ; water, mill, garden, oven, and all other mecha- 
nical shops, to be within the house. Monks going on a 
journey to have previous prayers of the house, and on 
return to pray for pardon of excesses by the way. Impos- 
sible things ordered by the superior to be humbly repre- 
sented to him ; but if he persisted, the assistance of God 
to be relied on for their execution. Not to defend or 
excuse one another's faults. No blows or excommunica- 
tion without the permission of the abbot. Mutual obedi- 
ence, but no preference of a private person's commands 
over those of a superior. Prostration at the feet of the 
superiors as long as they were angry." Sanctorum Pa- 
trum Reg. Monast. Louv. 12mo. 1571, fol. 9. 51. Job. 
de Turrecremata. Concordia Regularum, &c. &c. 

After his return to the monastery, Bernard found it 
necessary to relax somewhat of his austerity, and in after 
years regretted the excesses to which his enthusiasm had 


led him, as tending to interfere with his usefulness by 
unduly reducing his strength. He was indeed called to 
active life at an early age, his opinion, advice, and medi- 
ation being sought by all persons and all classes, and his 
energetic mind thrusting him forward upon every occasion 
when the welfare of the Church was concerned. 

The influence of Bernard over the minds of men of all 
classes seems to have been perfectly marvellous, and must 
in part be accounted for by the fact, that he lived up to 
the standard of religious excellence which was at that 
time set before the minds of men, so far as the infirmities 
of human nature would permit. He was single-minded, 
he had no selfish objects in view ; his simple desire was 
to promote the interests of religion, and maintain the 
purity and independence of the Church, and this he was 
prepared to do at all hazards against monarchs and 
against the pope himself. He was fearless of man, and of 
his integrity no one could entertain a doubt. It is aston- 
ishing what one man may do, if he can obliterate every 
selfish feeling and motive. Then again, his extreme 
vivacity and the fiery energy of his manner produced such 
an impression upon the minds of men, even of those who 
only saw him and heard nothing but the sound of his 
voice, that, as it is related in his life, when he preached to 
the Germans, they were moved to tears by his exhorta- 
tions without having understood a single word of the 
language in which they were uttered. The thinness of 
his slightly built frame, only made people think of the 
precious soul which that frail earthen vessel contained. 
His neck especially was very long and delicate, and his 
personal appearance such as to attract attention. We 
have an instance on record of the manner in which he 
turned this to advantage on a particular occasion : when at 
a later period of life he had been preaching at Toulouse, 
at the conclusion of his sermon, he was about to mount 
his horse, when one of the sectaries came forward, and 
called aloud to him, " Know, my lord abbot, that the 
horse of our master, against whom you have been speaking 


so freely, is by no means so fat and well-conditioned as 
yours." Bernard, without manifesting the least disturb- 
ance, replied with a good-humoured glance at the man, 
" I do not deny it, my friend; but I would thou shouldst 
remember that this is a boast for the which thou dost 
reprove me. Now, to be fat and well-conditioned is suit- 
able to the nature and appointment of beasts ; and God, 
who will not judge us for such matters, is not thereby 
offended ; but every man shall answer for himself." And 
so saying, he threw back his cowl, and discovered his 
wasted throat, and thin and withered countenance ; and 
this was to the people the most conclusive refutation of 
the sectarian. 

No restraint was felt by Bernard in addressing persons 
of higher station in thp. Church than himself, and simple 
monk, as he was, he did not feel that he was stepping out 
of his line when, for the good of the Church, he thought 
it expedient to admonish bishops and archbishops. We 
have an instance of this in the case of Henry of Sens, one 
of the most distinguished of the French prelates, who on 
his determining to amend his life, which had not been 
strictly episcopal, received from Bernard a treatise on the 
duties of a bishop. Such was the object of Bernard's 
work, De moribus et officio Episcoporum. He first draws 
the character of a true priest, who, by a genuine spiritual 
life becomes an example to his flock. "Is it fitting," he 
says, " that the shepherd should, like the animals, follow 
the sensual appetites, that he should cleave to the vilest 
things, and seek after earthly matters ? And not rather, 
standing erect like a man, look up by the Spirit into 
heaven, in search of the Supreme God ?" He then repre- 
sents the vocation of a Christian priest, as it appeared to 
him in that age. " As a good mediator he brings to God 
the prayers and pious purposes of the congregation, and 
conveys back to them the blessing and the grace of God ; 
he implores the Supreme Being for the forgiveness of 
sinners, and rebukes sinners for their offences against 
God : the unthankful he reminds of God's favours ; the 
2b 2 


blasphemous and despisers, of his inexorable justice ; yet 
striving all the while to reconcile their offended God to 
them; now exhibiting the weakness of man, and then 
dwelling on the greatness of their Heavenly Father's love. 
A faithful priest, who regardeth, with dove-like simplicity, 
all the wealth that passes through his hands, whether it 
be of ' the dew of heaven from above, ' or the vows of men 
that are offered unto God, keeping back nought for him- 
self, and seeking, not the gifts, but the good of his flock ; 
not his own glory, but the glory of God." 

After having proposed this pattern of a priest and min- 
ister, Bernard goes on to rebuke the opposite errors and 
abuses ; the pomp of the clergy, especially in their dress, 
the costly foreign furs, worn on occasions of ceremony (c. 15), 
and their horse furniture, decorated as it was with the 
richest ornaments, and glittering with gold and precious 
stones. With the most moving earnestness he reminds 
them, that what they thus lavish in vain pomp is taken 
from the poor. The naked and the hungry complain, and 
cry aloud "You are squandering that which belongs to us, 
for we also are God s creatures, and the Blood of Christ 
was shed for our redemption as well as yours." " If," 
says Bernard to the archbishop (c.7), "he be tempted to 
pride by his condition, his age, his learning, or the dig- 
nity of his episcopal see, he will be straightway humbled, 
and filled with dread by the consciousness of the respon- 
sibility of his calling ; and indeed, it is only because men 
are prevented by the glare of the splendour which sur- 
rounds them, from discerning their duties and burdens, 
that they press forward to the highest ecclesiastical 
offices. " Here he manifests his displeasure at the traffic 
which is carried on in holy things. " School-boys and 
beardless youths, whose birth is their only merit, are 
promoted to ecclesiastical dignities — boys who rejoice in 
these chiefly as a means of escaping from the rod. And 
what is yet more wonderful, the clergy themselves, im- 
pelled only by covetousness and ambition, overlook their 
duties and burdens in their eager seeking after higher 


dignities. Is one a bishop, he then aspires to an arch- 
bishopric ; has he attained that, he then dreams of some- 
thing still higher, and by tedious journeys and costly 
friendships, seeks to purchase partizans at the court of 
Rome. Some endeavour to get all privileges at once. 
Under the pretext of extending their dioceses beyond 
their proper limits, they appropriate to themselves that 
which does not belong to them, and alas ! even on the veiy 
threslilwld of the Apostles, they find men capable of favour- 
ing their evil purposes : not that the Romans take any 
great interest in the result of the business, but because they 
gladly receive the bribes that it brings with it." By the 
side of this greedy ambition, Bernard places the affected 
humility, with which men entered on the episcopal office, 
and which had become a mere formal etiquette. " Verily 
(c. 16), as though ye had been forced into the bishopric, ye 
did weep and complain of compulsion, and style your- 
selves wretched and unworthy, and altogether unmeet for 
so holy an office." 

It is well for the admirers of the medieval church, to 
the disparagement of the church of England, as it now 
exists in its reformed state, to learn the character of 
medieval ecclesiastics from statements such as these; We 
are by no means among those who would depreciate those 
times : virtues then flourished which we are unable to 
equal, but vices also prevailed from which we are happily 
liberated ; and when we complain of either the worldliness 
or the ignorance of our bishops, if the charge can be sub- 
stantiated, we must not forget that worldliness and ignor- 
ance prevailed also in the middle ages, and as then, so 
now, the learning and the disinterestedness of many are 
to be dwelt upon with thankfulness, and are to be placed 
in contrast with the faults of those who form, it is always 
to be hoped, the exception to the rule. We would not 
depreciate the past ages by comparison with the present, 
or the present by comparison with the past. Each has its 
peculiar virtues, and its peculiar faults. 

Nor did Bernard spare the papal court. A quarrel 


having ensued between Louis the Sixth, king of France, 
and the clergy of the Gallican church, the latter laid the 
kingdom under an interdict, and the king procured the 
pope's authority for the removal of the interdict : for the 
popes as often interfered to impede as to support the dis- 
cipline of the Church, and it had been long since disco- 
vered by the worldly-wise, that at the Romish court it was 
not exactly the interests of the Church which had the 
ascendancy. Bernard boldly complained to the pope in 
his own name and in that of many other persons ; and 
although his representations had then effect, he received 
a significant hint from the papal chancellor, Haimerich, 
that " he should no longer trouble himself so much with 
the affairs of the world, since this was unbecoming a 
monk." Bernard, in justifying himself, and while express- 
ing the greatest possible deference to the see of Rome, 
took occasion to utter some home-truths to the papal 
court ; concluding his vindication with the remark, that 
41 even if we were to hide ourselves and hold our peace, 
the murmurs of the Church would still continue, while 
the court of Rome continues to give judgment according 
to the wishes of those who are present, rather than the 
rights of those who are absent." He professed his disin- 
clination at the same time to join in these controversies ; 
and we are to remember of Bernard, that his great exter- 
nal activity was never permitted to interfere with the 
inward life of his contemplative nature : he was always 
striving, says Neander, to impart to others, both by his 
writings and discourses, some portion of the spirit by 
which he was himself replenished. As a specimen of his 
pious meditations, and in evidence of his profoundly 
religious spirit, the following extract is given from his 
epistle to Hugh, prior of the Carthusians : 

" Love is that eternal, creating, and ruling law, by 
which all things were made in their appointed measure, 
number, and weight; and there is nothing without 
law, for even the law of all things is subject to a law, 
although indeed it be to its own law, through which, 


though it did not indeed create, yet it rules the world. 
But the slaves and hirelings have not received their law 
from the Lord, but from themselves, while they love more 
than God that which is not God. Thus have they re- 
ceived a self-imposed law, differing from the law of God, 
and yet subject to it, since they cannot withdraw it from 
the unchangeable ordinances of God. That is to say, that 
every creature hath, by preferring his own will to the 
eternal and universal law, and by thus striving by crooked 
ways to imitate the Creator, made a bye-law for himself. 
Now it was the effect of God's eternal and righteous law 
that those creatures that would not submit to be governed 
by God in the enjoyment of holiness, should be overruled 
by themselves to their own punishment ; and, as they had 
voluntarily cast away the light and pleasant yoke of love, 
so must they perforce and involuntarily bear the heavy 
burden of their own will. Whereas we are first fleshly, 
our desires and our love must be brought out of the flesh, 
and when they have taken the right direction, they shall 
by the aid of grace, ascending by certain and sure degrees, 
at last be perfected in the spirit. At first man loves 
himself for his own sake, but when he becomes conscious 
that he cannot exist by himself, he begins to seek after 
and to love God, as necessary to the support of his exist- 
ence : at this second step man loves God indeed, but it 
is for his own sake, and not in obedience to the will of 
God. But when he hath once begun to raise his thoughts 
to God, to pray to Him, to obey Him, though it be from 
selfishness, God reveals Himself to him by degrees in 
this confidential intercourse. He wins his love, and so 
having tasted the good will of the Lord, man passes to the 
third step, to love God for God's sake, and on this step 
he remaineth ; for I know not whether any man hath in 
this life ever reached the fourth step altogether — namely, 
to love himself only for God's sake. But this shall come 
to pass when the faithful servants shall have entered into 
the joy of their Lord ; then, satiated with the riches of the 
house of God, and forgetful of themselves, they shall, in a 


wonderful manner, be wholly merged in God, and united 
with Him in one spirit." 

Vain indeed is all zeal for religion, unless there be an 
austere regulation of the inward man ; zeal without love 
is a mere human passion, and may make men persecu- 
tors, but will never make them saints. 

Bernard was called forth from his retirement by the 
very power which, when he acted counter to its interests, 
sought to compel him to retire. It was by the express 
command of Matthew of Alba, the papal legate, that he 
unwillingly took part in the deliberations of the council 
which assembled at Troyes in 1128, where the order of 
knights templars received its more settled form. It had 
in a manner existed from the year 1118, when nine men 
of illustrious descent, united for the purpose of keeping 
the road to the Holy Sepulchre open for pilgrims, and 
consecrated their lives to the service ; taking the vows of 
canons regular before the patriarch of Jerusalem. They 
derived their title, Knights Templars, or Knights of the 
Temple, from their place of residence, which was the site 
of Solomon's Temple. For ten years the association 
existed without a fixed rule, or any addition "to their 
number. But at the council of Troyes they received their 
rule ; and 'through the recommendation and influence of 
Bernard, the order was greatly extended. He even wrote 
in their favour, and his " Commendation of the New 
Order of Knighthood," Liber de Laude Novae Militias 
Templi, was written at the request of Hugo-a-Paganis, 
the first grandmaster. 

But the energies of Bernard's mind were employed 
even in the minor controversies between the monks of his 
own order and the Cluniacs, whom he accused of various 
deviations from the Benedictine rule, and of unnecessary 
expense, not only in their domestic arrangements, but in 
the decorations of their churches. Peter the Venerable 
was abbot of Clugni, and he signalized his Christian 
moderation and gentleness in composing the differences 
between the rival orders. Bernard had attacked the 


Cluniacs with his usual unsparing vigor, and Peter the 
Venerable had defended them with judgment, but with 
determination. A misunderstanding between the abbots 
arose more than once, but they were united by feelings of 
friendship and respect, and it is pleasant to read the 
following letter written at a later period by Bernard to 
Peter : 

"What are you about, my good man? you laud a 
sinner and beatify a miserable creature. You must add a 
prayer, that I may not be led into temptation. For I 
shall be led into it, if, feeling complacency in such com- 
pliments, I begin not to know myself. How happy now 
might I be, if words could make me happy. Happy never- 
theless I shall call myself, but in your regard, not in my 
own praises. Happy that I am loved by, and that I love, 
you. Though indeed this morsel, sweet as it is to me, 
must be a little modified. Do you wonder why ? It is 
because I do not see what claim I have to such affection, 
especially from such a man. You know, however, that to 
desire to be more beloved than one deserves is unjust. I 
would that I might be enabled to imitate, as well as to 
admire, that mark of humility. I would that I might 
enjoy your holy and desired presence, I do not say always, 
or even often, but at least once a year. I think I should 
never return empty. I should not, I say, look in vain at 
a pattern of discipline, a mirror of holiness. And (that 
which, I confess, I have as yet but too little learned of 
Christ) I should not quite in vain have before my eyes 
your example of meekness and lowliness of heart. But if 
I go on to do to you what I have complained of your 
doing to me, though I may speak the truth, yet I shall 
act contrary to the word of truth, which commands us not 
to do to others what we would not that they should do to 
us. Therefore let me now reply to the little request with 
which you concluded your letter. He whom you order to 
be sent to you is not at present with me, but with the 
bishop of Auxerre, and so ill, that he could not, without 
great inconvenience, come either to me or to you." 


A schism existed in the papacy about this time, car- 
dinal Gregorio having been elected pope by one party, by 
the name of Innocent the Second ; and cardinal Petrus 
Leonis, who took the name of Anacletus the Second, 
having been elected by another party. The decision of 
the rival claims of the respective popes was remitted by 
king Louis to his bishops, and they accordingly assembled 
at Etampes for this purpose in 1130. To the council the 
abbot of Clairvaux was summoned. The case was left 
entirely in his hands, and his decision in favour of Inno- 
cent was unanimously deemed conclusive : a fact which is 
less surprising, when we are informed that the members 
of the council were already predisposed in favour of 
Innocent. It was one of those circumstances which ren- 
dered Bernard so powerful, that his constitutional cast of 
thought and feeling was in harmony with the spirit of the 
age, and it was generally felt that when he was consulted 
he would come to the conclusion which would commend 
itself to the judgment of the vast majority of his contem- 
poraries. Bernard was not of a disposition to patronize 
Innocent by halves, but as through him France had been 
induced to regard him as the true pope, the indefatigable 
abbot never rested in his exertion until he had secured 
his recognition in other regions of the West. His labours, 
especially in Italy, were great, and while kings and pre- 
lates were ready to defer to him, his popularity among the 
common people was such, that wherever he appeared they 
crowded around him, and almost worshipped him as a saint. 
At Milan, we are told " that at his nod all gold and silver 
ornaments were removed from the churches, and shut up 
in chests, as being offensive to the holy abbot ; men and 
women clothed themselves either in hair-cloth, or in the 
meanest woollen garments," and did whatever he directed. 
They earnestly desired to detain him among them as 
their metropolitan, and entreated his acceptance of the 
archiepiscopal office, but Bernard had long since deter- 
mined on refusing any elevated post in the Church, 
choosing rather, as a simple monk, to have the guidance 


of princes and prelates, than to become either bishop or 
pope himself. At the same time we have to regret that 
Bernard was one of those who, with the best intentions, 
advocated the papal supremacy, and entertained the idea 
of there being a universal bishop, to whom all other 
bishops ought to submit. 

In 1135 Bernard set out from Italy on his return to 
France. On his passage over the Alps he was met by 
crowds of shepherds and peasants, who came to receive 
his blessing. His return through the north of Italy, 
Switzerland, and France, resembled a royal progress. 
At the gates of Placentia he was received by the bishop 
and clergy, who conducted him in solemn procession into 
their city. At Florence he met with a similar reception. 
The shepherds of the Alps forsook their flocks to come 
and ask his benediction. From Besangon he was solemnly 
escorted to Langres, and at a short distance from that city 
he found his brethren from Clairvaux, who had hastened 
to meet him on the news of his approach. " They fell on 
his neck, they embraced his knees, they spoke to him by 
turns, and full of joyous exultation they accompanied him 
to Clairvaux," says the Annalist of Citeaux. 

It was soon after Bernard's return, that the rebuilding 
of Clairvaux commenced. The monastery was no longer 
capable of containing the numbers who nocked to it for 
admission ; a hundred novices, principally from the banks 
of the Rhine, where Bernard had preached the preceding 
year, had been recently received, and the original builcling ; 
placed in the angle formed by two hills, could not be 
enlarged so as to accommodate them. It was necessary 
to pull it down and rebuild it entirely. The expense of 
so vast an undertaking weighed heavily on the mind of 
Bernard. " Remember," he said to his monks, " remem- 
ber the labour and cost of our present house, with what 
infinite pains did we at last succeed in constructing aque- 
ducts to bring water into our offices and workshops ; and 
what would now be said of us if we were to destroy our 
vol. n. 2 c 


own work ? We should be counted fools, and with reason, 
since we have no money. Let us not then forget that 
word of the Gospel, ' that he who would build a tower, 
must first sit down and calculate the cost.' " To this the 
brethren replied, " You must either repulse those who are 
sent to you by God, or you must build lodgings for them ; 
and surely we should be truly miserable, if through fear 
of the expense we were to oppose any obstacles to the 
development of God's work." The abbot, touched by these 
representations, yielded to the general wishes of the com- 
munity, offerings flowed in from all parts, and the build- 
ings advanced with incredible rapidity. Thibaut, count 
of Champagne, granted the charter of this second founda- 
tion in the year 1135, and with his daughter Matilda, 
countess of Flanders, and her husband, Philip, who were 
subsequently buried at Clairvaux, contributed largely to 
the endowment, as well as Ermengarde, countess of 
Bretagne. It is described in the deed of enrollment, 
as " in Banno Morasma quae vocatur Bellum Pratum." 
In the hill situate to the west of this valley, was 
a spring of clear water, which after making its way 
to the meadows below, lost itself under ground, and at 
a little distance re-appeared ; and it was at this point 
that the new monastery was erected. The monks had 
timber at hand for their buildings, for the forest of 
Clairvaux is stated to have been 7000 toises in length, 
and 3000 in breadth, that is, about eight miles long and 
three broad. 

Of Bernard, in his retirement and as abbot of Clairvaux, 
we have the following interesting account : 

In spite of the delicacy of his health, Bernard was 
in the habit of preaching every day to his monks. His 
eloquence, according to the statement of his contempo- 
raries, was overpowering. His voice, though w r eak, was 
wonderfully flexible and melodious, and its effect was 
enhanced by a countenance which expressed every emotion 
of his sensitive heart. It is said that we owe the discourses 


which have come down to us, to the care of the monks, 
who wrote them as he delivered them. 

It was during this interval of retirement in his " beloved 
Jerusalem," as Bernard was accustomed to call Clairvaux : 
that he composed his sermons on the Canticles ; in which, 
says Milner, " we have laid before us the inward soul of 
a saint of the 12th century, confessing and describing the 
vicissitudes of spiritual consolation and declension : 
which, with more or less variety, are known to real Chris- 
tians in all ages of the Church." They were preached 
to his brethren at the daily service, and it appears from 
one of his letters that he was led to make choice of 
this divine book as the text of his discourses, from his 
own intimate consciousness of the force of divine Jove 
as a motive of action. " For myself," says Bernard, " I 
serve God freely, because I serve him from love, and 
it is to the practice of this love that I exhort you, my 
beloved and dear children. Serve God with love, with 
that perfect love which casteth out fear, which feels not 
the burden of the day, which counts not the cost of the 
labour, which works not for wages, and which is yet the 
most powerful motive of action." " We must," he saye 
elsewhere, " regard rather the affections than the expres- 
sions in the Song of Songs. Love is the speaker through- 
out, and if any one wish to understand it, it must be by 
love. He who loveth not, will in vain approach either to 
hear or to read, for this discourse of fire can never be 
apprehended by a heart of ice." " This sweet colloquy 
requireth chaste ears, and in the loving ones whom it 
pourtrayeth do not represent to yourselves a man and 
woman, but the Word and the soul, Jesus Christ and the 
Church, which is the same thing, except that the Church, 
instead of one soul, denotes the unity of many." During 
the rebuilding of the abbey, Bernard lived in a green ar- 
bour, which he had erected in the most retired part of the 
valley, and there it was his wont to meditate on the sub- 
jects of his discourses, which were often preached extem- 
pore, after being prepared hy meditation and prayer. He 


was interrupted by a second call to Italy, but resumed the 
subject on his return ; and it was soon after this, that he 
had to deplore the loss of his favourite brother Gerard, 
the companion of all his journey ings, who died trium- 
phantly in his arms, chanting a psalm of thanksgiving, on 
the 13th of April, 1139. Like David, Bernard had given 
way to his grief while Gerard was languishing and dying, 
but when all was over, he stifled every sign of feeling, and 
even presided at the funeral rites with an air of the most 
profound calmness and insensibility, while all around him 
were dissolved in tears ; a circumstance the more remarked 
by his brethren, because he had ever before wept over 
every monk whom he had lost, with the tenderness 
of a mother. At the accustomed hour, Bernard, who 
never suffered any circumstances to interrupt the per- 
formance of his religious duties, mounted the pulpit as 
usual, and continued the exposition of the Canticles ; but 
on a sudden he stopped, overcome by his feelings, and 
almost suffocated by the grief he had repressed; then 
after a pause he continued, and the tribute he paid to his 
brother in this unpremeditated funeral oration affords 
a lively portrait of his own affectionate character. 

Without referring to some of those slighter traits which 
might be alluded to as characterizing Bernard's activity 
at this epoch of his life, for he was not permitted to 
remain long in retirement, we must allude to his contro- 
versy with the notorious Abelard, and his opposition to 
the system of treating theological subjects which was at 
this period introduced. A taste for philosophical studies 
had now spread itself among theologians, and there grew 
up a scholastic, as distinguished from positive or tradition- 
ary theology, which for four centuries continued to engage 
the attention of eminent men in the Church. From the 
beginning of the twelfth century, Paris became the chief 
seat of the new science, and Abelard its favourite doctor. 
In the first of the periods into which the scholastic 
theology maybe divided, its disciples contented themselves 
with a dialectic treatment of the received system of the 


Church, but Abelard became bolder, and the further he 
pushed his irreverent speculations, the greater was the 
enthusiasm of his scholars. He was led by his profane 
and irreverent speculations into many heresies, asserting 
that the mysteries of faith are subject to reason, and 
holding, with reference to the Trinity, views nearly 
approaching to modern Socinianism. On the person of 
Christ he agreed with the Xestorians ; and with the 
Pelagians, in the opinion that His death was not the price 
of our redemption, but that He was only an example of 
patience, perseverance, charity, and virtue. His Intro- 
ductio ad Theologiam was condemned, by the synod of 
Soissons, in 1121. But his condemnation only served 
to increase his fame among his self-willed disciples, who 
followed him in great numbers to his retirement near 
Xogent. Abelard, thus supported, after a little time 
resumed the teaching of his heterodoxies, and his philoso- 
phy was diffused beyond the Alps and the seas, by his 
writings and by his enthusiastic scholars. 

It was on Bernard's return to Clairvaux, after his last 
visit to Rome, that his attention was called to this dis- 
tinctive philosophy by his friend the abbot of St Thierry, 
who wrote to urge him to exert himself in the cause of 
the " faith, of our common hope, now grievously and dan- 
gerously corrupted." With his letter he sent Abelard's 
" Theology," to which he had appended his own remarks. 
It would appear from this letter that Bernard had been 
at first favourably inclined towards Abelard, for the abbot 
William thus concludes his letter : " If I can convince 
you that I am justly moved, I trust that you also will be 
moved, and in an important cause like this, will not fear 
to part with him, though he be afoot, a hand, or an eye. 
I myself have loved him, and wish to do so still, God is 
my witness ; but in this cause, I see neither relation nor 

The self-distrusting humility of Bernard is fully 
evinced in his answer. " I think your zeal both just and 
a c2 


necessary, and that it was not idle, the book you have sent 
me demonstrates .... But as I have not been accus- 
tomed to trust to my own judgment, especially on things 
of so great importance, I believe the best way would be 
for you and me to meet and talk over the subject. Yet 
even this, I think, cannot be done till after Easter, lest 
the devotions of the holy season be disturbed. I must 
beseech you to have patience with me, and to pardon my 
silence on the subject, since I was hitherto ignorant of 
most, if not all the particulars. As to that which you 
exhort me to, God is able to inspire me with His good 
Spirit through your prayers." 

Having thoroughly investigated the subject, Bernard, 
now fully impressed with its awful magnitude, undertook 
a journey to visit and privately confer with Abelard. In 
these conferences he kindly admonished him of his errors, 
and intreated him to correct them. This attempt proving 
fruitless, he took two or three persons with him, according 
to the precept of the Gospel, and in their presence expos- 
tulated with the innovator. Finding all these endeavours 
utterly ineffectual, and having proved himself sufficiently 
dear from personal malice, or blind precipitation, he 
began, as far as he could, to warn the disciples of Abelard 
against the errors of their master, and to guard the 
Christian world against the growing heresy. 

Abelard, whose aim was not truth, but victory, and the 
establishment of his own fame, rejoiced in an opportunity 
of entering, as he hoped, into a controversy with one so 
eminent as St Bernard. A numerous synod being sum- 
moned to assemble at Sens in the year 1140, he declared 
himself ready to dispute with Bernard, and to refute his 
charges. He was ready, with the chivalrous spirit of 
a literary knight errant, to maintain his cause. But 
Bernard knew that the doctrines of the faith are too 
sacred to be converted into subjects for dialectic disputa- 
tion : lie knew that the proper course was to have the 
opinions of Abelard compared with the indisputable doc- 


trines of the Church. They were orthodox or not ; if 
orthodox, let him be acquitted ; if not, let him be con- 
demned. In the first instance, therefore, Bernard de- 
clined the invitation which had been sent him by the 
archbishop of Sens. He says, " I declined the challenge, 
partly because I was but a youth, and he a man of-war 
from his youth ; partly, because I hold it unmeet to 
subject matters of faith, which are grounded on sure 
and steadfast truth, to the subtleties of human argumen- 
tation. I replied that his writings are sufficient to accuse 
him, and that it is not my business, but that of the 
bishops, whose vocation it is to decide questions of faith. 
Notwithstanding, yea, the rather for this answer, he lifted 
up his voice, so as to attract many, and assembled his 
adherents. I will not relate the things that he wrote of 
me to his scholars, but he affirmed everywhere that he 
would meet and dispute with me, on the appointed day, 
at Sens. The news reached all men, and could not be 
hidden from me. At first I disregarded it as idle gossip, 
undeserving of credit, but finally I yielded, though with 
great reluctance, and with many tears, to the counsel of 
my friends ; for, seeing that all men. were preparing them- 
selves for the conference as for an encounter of combat- 
ants, they feared lest my absence should be a stumbling- 
block to the people, and an occasion of triumph to the 
adversary, who would wax stronger if none could be found 
to oppose him. So I came to the appointed place at the 
time appointed, but unprepared, and mindful of those 
words of Scripture, ' Do not premeditate how you shall 
answer, for it shall be given you in that same hour what 
ye shall say ;' and that other, ' The Lord is my helper ; 
whom, then, shall I fear ?' " 

Bernard proceeded on the principle he had laid down 
for himself. The king himself was present at the council, 
surrounded by the most eminent prelates of the Gallican 
Church, and by all who were distinguished for learning or 
pretensions to learning. It was a grand opportunity for 
intellectual display, but Bernard was above the tempta- 


tion. He declined to argue ; he merely selected certain 
passages from the writings of Abelard, and then produced 
from the fathers passages by which they were refuted, 
Abelard perceived that instead of being a disputant secure 
of a faction to applaud him, he was placed as a prisoner 
upon his trial : he was therefore silent, and the propo- 
sitions from his writings were, as a matter of course, 
condemned as heretical. He appealed to the pope : for 
all parties, heterodox and orthodox, conspired at this time 
in elevating the papal authority. The pope condemned 
all the corrupt doctrines of Abelard, together with their 
author, who, as a heretic, was enjoined perpetual silence. 
For an account of Abelard's retirement to the abbey of 
Clugni, his reconciliation with Bernard, his retractation, 
penitence, and death, the reader is referred to the life of 
Abelard, already given. 

About the year 1140, Bernard was involved in an 
important controversy concerning what was called the 
immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary. Several 
Churches in France began about that time to celebrate the 
festival consecrated to this pretended conception. It is 
reported by some authors that it had been introduced into 
our own church of England before this period, in con- 
sequence of the exhortations of archbishop Anselm. The 
Church of Lyons was the first which adopted this new 
festival in France, which no sooner came to the knowledge 
of St Bernard, than he severely censured the canons of 
Lyons on account of this innovation, and opposed the 
immaculate conception of the Virgin with the greatest 
vigour, as it supposed her to be honoured with a privilege 
which belonged to Christ alone. Upon this a warm 
contest arose ; some siding with the canons of Lyons, and 
adopting the new festival, while others adhered to the 
more orthodox sentiments of St Bernard. The contro- 
versy, notwithstanding the zeal of the contending parties, 
was carried on during this century with a certain degree 
of decency and moderation. But in after times, as 
Moslieim remarks, when the Dominicans were established 


in the academy of Paris, the contest was renewed with the 
greatest vehemence, and the same subject was debated on 
both sides with the utmost animosity and contention of 
mind. The Dominicans declared for St Bernard, while 
the academy patronized the canons of Lyons, and adopted 
the new festival. 

Bernard was soon after taken by surprise when he 
heard that his protege and namesake whom, at the re- 
quest of Innocent, he had sent to preside over the Cister- 
cian monastery at Rome, had been elected pope under the 
name of Eugenius the Third. Bernard had been his 
spiritual father, and indeed in early life Eugenius had 
resigned an honourable and lucrative office in the church 
of Pisa, to place himself at Clairvaux under Bernard. The 
letter which Bernard addressed the new pope is character- 
istic : " I dare no longer," writes Bernard to the new pope, 
" call you my son, for the son is become the father, the 
father the son; yet I envy you not; for that which is 
lacking to me, I trust to obtain in you, for you are my 
work. I may call you my son in the spirit, and ' a 
wise son is the joy of his father,' (Prov. x. 1.) But 
from henceforth you shall no more be called my son, for a 
new name have you received, which the Lord Himself 
hath given you. This change is from the Most High, 
and many shall rejoice thereat. As Simon was turned 
into Cephas, and Saul to Paul, so I trust that for you it 
shall also be a blessed transformation that has made of 
my son Bernard, my father Eugenius. And now that this 
change has been made in you, the Lamb's Bride com- 
mitted to your care must likewise be changed, and made 
better. If you be indeed the Bridegroom's friend, appro- 
priate not to yourself His Church, or appropriate it only 
so as to be willing to lay down your life for it, in case of 
necessity. If you be sent by Christ, you will consider 
that you are ' come not to be ministered unto, but to 
minister.' Then shall the Church, freed from her bond- 
age, and transfigured, shine forth as the beloved of Him 
Who is the only object of her desire. But if you, who 


have formerly learned to renounce not only your own, but 
yourself, should now (which may God forbid !) be found 
seeking your own in that which belongeth to Christ, from 
whom shall the Church look for that freedom to which 
she is entitled ? Confiding, then, more in you than in 
any of your predecessors for a long season, the universal 
Church rejoiceth, and especially that Church which has 
borne you in her bosom, and at whose breast you have 
imbibed the new life. And shall I not share the common 
joy? Yea, truly, I confess it, J also rejoiced; but in the 
moment of rejoicing, fear and trembling seized me, for 
though I have laid aside the name of father, yet have I 
not laid aside the tender love and anxious solicitude of a 
father. You have taken a higher place, but not so safe an 
one. ' The place whereon thou standest is holy ground ;' 
the place of the first of the apostles ; the place of him 
whom God made lord of His house, and ruler of His 
kingdom, who is buried in this place to appear as a 
witness against you, if in anything you depart from the 
way of the Lord. To one who with a clear conscience 
could say, ' Silver and gold have I none,' was the Church 
committed in her infancy, that taught by his words, and 
edified by his example, she might leam to despise all 
earthly things." 

After exhorting the pope to reprove certain worldly- 
minded men on some particular occasion, he continues : 
" ! that I might see the Church, before I die, as it was 
in the days of the apostles, who made it their business to 
win not silver and gold, but souls. How earnestly do I 
desire to hear from you, who occupy the apostle's place, 
the apostle's sentence, — ' Thy money perish with thee!' 
(The answer of Peter to Simon Magus, Acts viii. 26.) 
! word of thunder, at which all the enemies of Zion 
should arise and flee away ! And this doth your Mother 
the Church require of you : for this do her children, small 
and great, continually sigh, — namely, that you should 
root out every plant which your Heavenly Father hath 
not planted ; for you are set over nations and kingdoms to 


root out and to destro}', and to build up and to plant. 
Yet, in all your undertakings, remember that you are but 
a man ; and let the fear of Him who taketh away the 
breath of princes, be ever before your eyes. How many 
popes have been removed by death, even in your own 
time ! Let these, your predecessors, be silent monitors of 
the shortness and uncertainty of your own life, and, amid 
the flatteries of surrounding royalty, let your thoughts be 
ever on your latter end." 

Eugenius was involved in great difficulties owing to the 
insubordination of the Roman people, excited, as their 
passions had been, by the eloquence of Arnold of Brescia, 
and Bernard exerted his influence with the emperor to 
obtain for him assistance, when the attention of both, and 
indeed of the civilized world, was called to an undertaking 
of yet greater importance, — the second Crusade. 

It was in the year 1145 that information was received 
in Europe of the perilous condition of the newly estab- 
lished kingdom in the East. Edessa was taken by the 
Saracens ; Antioch and Jerusalem were threatened. The 
news excited universal sorrow. Louis the Seventh, king 
of France, in a penitential spirit, was the first who pre- 
pared to arm in defence of the Holy Sepulchre. The 
French king's determination was approved by the pope, 
Eugenius III ; and Bernard was commissioned to travel 
through France and Germany for the purpose of raising 
an army of crusaders. The success of Bernard was mar- 
vellous. The unwilling emperor, Conrad III, yielded at 
length to his impassioned eloquence. In his manage- 
ment of Conrad, the tact and good taste of Bernard were 
conspicuous. It was at Frankfort-on-Maine that he had 
his first private audience. When the emperor then gave 
him to understand how little interest he took in the 
matter, Bernard pressed the subject no farther, but 
awaited another opportunity. After having succeeded in 
making peace between several of the princes of the 
empire, he preached the crusade publicly, exhorting the 
emperor and princes to participate in it, at the diet held 


at Christinas in the city of Spires. Three days after this, 
he again addressed the emperor in private, and exhorted 
him, in a friendly and affectionate manner, not to lose the 
opportunity of so short, so easy, and so honourable a mode 
of penance. Conrad, already more favourably disposed to 
the undertaking, replied that he would advise with his 
councillors, and give him an answer on the following day. 
The next day Bernard officiated at the holy communion, 
to which he unexpectedly added a sermon in reference to 
the crusade. Towards the conclusion of his discourse, he 
turned to the emperor, and addressed him frankly, as 
though he had been a private man. He described the 
day of judgment, when the men who had received such 
innumerable benefits from God, and yet had refused to 
minister to Him to the utmost of their power, would be 
left without reply or excuse. He then spoke of the 
blessings which God had in such overflowing measure 
poured upon the head of Conrad; the highest worldly 
dominion, treasures of wealth, gifts of mind and body, till 
the emperor, moved even to tears, exclaimed, " I acknow- 
ledge the gifts of the divine mercy, and I will no longer 
remain ungrateful for them. I am ready for the service 
to which He Himself hath exhorted me." x\t these words 
a universal shout of joy burst from the assembly ; the 
emperor immediately received the cross, and several of 
the nobles followed his example. Bernard then took 
from the altar the consecrated banner, and delivering it 
to the emperor, by whom it was to be carried in person at 
the head of the crusaders, he proceeded with him from 
the church to his lodgings. 

It appears from contemporary records, that one great 
difficulty which Bernard had to encounter in preaching the 
crusade, originated in the religious societies for the build- 
ing of churches, then the great object of popular devotion. 
These church building societies were regularly organized, 
and persons of both sexes and of all ranks aspired to the 
honour of labouring in them. No one could be admitted 
till he had reconciled himself to God, by a devout and 


humble confession of his sins, a vow of obedience to the 
superior of the association, and an engagement to perform 
all the offices of charity for the sick. The congregation 
then marched over hill and dale, under the conduct of a 
priest, and with banner displayed, to the field of their joint 
labours. Some curious details on this subject may be 
seen in a letter given by Mabillon, Arm. Ord. S. Bernd. 
t. vi. p. 392. It was written in the year 1145, by Haimo, 
abbot of St Pierre, in Normandy, who saw a magnificent 
cathedral rising on the site of his humble parish church. 

"Who has ever heard of such a thing?" exclaims the 
astonished abbot, " who has ever seen princes, mighty 
lords, men-at-arms, and delicate women, bend their necks 
to the yoke to which they suffer themselves to be attached 
like beasts of draught, so as to move heavy burdens? 
Sometimes thousands of them are to be seen fastened to 
one machine, of great weight, loaded with wheat, wine, and 
oil ; with lime, stone, and all the materials necessary for 
the workmen, which they drag from surprising distances. 
Nothing stops their progress ; neither hills, valleys, nor 
rivers, which they cross as did formerly the people of 
God. And what is still more wonderful, this innu- 
merable company pursues its march without noise or 
confusion. Their voices are never heard except at a 
given signal, when they are raised to implore pardon for 
their sins, or to chant the praises of God." 

It will be evident that these associations, so interest- 
ing to the imagination, presented a formidable obstacle 
to the successful preaching of the crusade. It must 
indeed have been difficult to persuade men who had 
consecrated their lives to the advancement of the cause 
of religion in their native land, and who were cheered 
by the sight of their daily progress, to desert the sacred 
work in which they were engaged, for an object of remote 
interest and dubious attainment. Yet even this obstacle 
was surmounted by the eloquence of Bernard. 

In the course of the year a numerous host of crusaders 

VOL. II. 2 D 


took their departure for the East. The observations of 
Neander on this subject are liberal and just, which in one 
who professes liberality, is always agreeable, though not 
very common. " So powerful," he says, " in this age was 
the influence of sensations of devotional remembrance, 
that men of all ranks left their goods and their homes, 
and were ready to lay down their lives to deliver from the 
hands of the infidel those localities which they justly 
regarded as the most sacred in the world, from their 
having been hallowed by events the most sublime and 
touching, and of universal interest; and to open them 
again for the access of piety and devotion. It was, 
indeed, a mistake to seek by violence and blood, the con- 
quest of that place from which peace was to be shed 
abroad upon the whole human race ; and these rude 
warriors, actuated by devotional sensations which they 
but imperfectly understood, and which were inadequately 
impressed on their inner being, were often carried away 
by the impulses of passion and sensuality : still, in the 
enthusiasm which animated the nations for an object 
unintelligible to the senses, in the extraordinary efforts 
for an extraordinary end, we recognize the traces of man's 
illustrious origin. Lowest in the scale [of excellence], 
and false in the greatest degree to the primitive nobility 
of man, stands he, who, in the coldness of intellect, looks 
down upon those times in a spirit of affected compassion, 
proceeding not from the overpowering influence of genuine 
reality on the mind, but from the circumstance of his 
assuming that only to be real, which is, in truth, the very 
lowest degree of seeming, and thus regarding as a delusion 
what is here the beautiful, the labouring and the venturing 
for an object which exists, and is of value, for the heart 

The success of his preaching on this occasion had 
evidently an injurious effect upon Bernard's character : 
he persuaded others as well as himself that he was pos- 
sessed of supernatural powers, and his great reputation 


betrayed him into the weakness of displaying himself as 
a prophet. He was justly rebuked by the entire failure 
of the expedition ; a melancholy result, which spread 
dismay among the nations of the West. The disappointed 
nobles reproached him as a false and incautious prophet ; 
and he attributed the failure to the vices and mismanage- 
ment of the princes and knights, who in their lives proved 
themselves to be unworthy of being used as instruments 
of God s service. 

But before the disappointment with respect to the 
crusade came upon Bernard, we find him actively engaged 
in suppressing the heresy of the Petrobrusians, of whom 
it is necessary to give a short account. 

In the beginning of the 12th century Pierre de Bruys 
made his appearance in the south of France. This heretic 
was a man of decided character, determined to carry out 
his principles to their legitimate conclusions. Like some 
modern heretics, he denied that regeneration is the grace 
conferred by the Holy Ghost through the Sacrament of 
Baptism ; but unlike them, having embraced an heretical 
opinion, he discarded the traditional practice of the 
Church, and rejected infant baptism, If infants are born 
in original sin they require regeneration ; and if baptism 
be the instrument of regeneration, they ought to be 
baptized. But if baptism is not the instrument of 
regeneration, it is mere superstition to administer it to 
infants ; unless there be, which there is not, a plain com- 
mand in Scripture to baptize them. Pierre de Bruys, 
like a heretic, rejected the doctrine of baptismal rege- 
neration ; like an honest man he shrunk not from the 
consequence of his heresy, and denounced infant bap- 
tism. Nor were his errors confined to this question. 
Asserting that God was not more present in one place 
than another, he drew the conclusion that churches in 
general were unnecessary, and that all churches must 
therefore be pulled down ; maintaining that God " taketh 
pleasure in the pious emotions of the heart alone, he drew 
the conclusion that He is neither to be invoked by loud 


sounding voices, or conciliated by musical melodies, and 
that therefore " God is only mocked by church chanting." 
In his contempt for external religion he totally, but con- 
sistently, rejected the sacrament of the blessed Eucharist ; 
and, denying the doctrine of a purgatory, he denied also 
the existence of a middle state. The result of his preach- 
ing was that his followers pulled down not only altars but 
churches also ; and assembling on Good Friday brought 
together all the crosses they could find, and making a 
bonfire, cooked flesh, and invited all to eat. They scourged 
all the priests upon whom they could lay hands, and com- 
pelled the monks, in spite of their yows, to marry. Con- 
sidering how identified in this age were the laws of each 
country with the canons of the Church, and that this move- 
ment was seditious as well as schismatical, it is astonish- 
ing to find that Pierre de Bruys continued to preach these 
doctrines with impunity for twenty years. He was at 
length seized by an infuriated mob and conducted to the 
scaffold, in the town of St Giles, in Languedoc. But his 
principles had taken root, and his party called Petrobru- 
sians continued their violence under a leader more fana- 
tical than himself, Henri by name. This man, who was 
both a demagogue and a fanatic, was mildly dealt with : 
nothing could have been more tolerant or judicious than 
the treatment he received from Hildebert, bishop of Mens, 
nothing more ungrateful and wicked than the conduct of 
Henri. Against the pious bishop he excited the populace, 
but Hildebert took no other measure against him than 
that of requiring him to leave his diocese. In 1134 the 
bishop of Aries brought him before a council at Pisa, 
where Henri retracted his errors, and was committed to 
the mild custody of St Bernard, at Clairvaux, from which 
he made his escape and resumed his schismatical pro- 
ceedings about Toulouse and Albi. His influence here, 
and the mischief he did, is described by St Bernard, and 
the whole district must have been in a state of civil 
as well as ecclesiastical disturbance. At length pope 
Eugenius perceived the necessity of stronger measures, 


and despatched a cardinal, accompanied by other bishops, 
to suppress the sect. The cardinal desiring to do so by 
moral influence rather than by force of arms, persuaded 
St Bernard to accompany him, knowing his power over 
the minds of men. He had concluded rightly. When 
the cardinal entered Albi he was met by every species of 
tumultuous insult, but when two days afterwards St 
Bernard made his appearance, his personal dignity, the 
meanness of his apparel, and his haggard countenance, 
made a very different impression : none presumed to 
treat him with derision, and he was received with univer- 
sal reverence and rejoicing. 

At Toulouse such was the effect of the simple eloquence 
of Bernard that, when at the conclusion of a discourse 
which had been listened to with sobs and tears, he invited 
the people to consider their ways and return to the unity 
of the Church ; and in order to distinguish the penitents, 
desired that "those who received the word of salvation 
should hold up their right hands, in token of their adhe- 
rence to the catholic Church," the whole congregation did 
so with eager alacrity. 

Henri was captured shortly after and brought before the 
pope at the council of Rheims, but at the intercession of 
the archbishop of Rheims, his sentence was mitigated to 
imprisonment in a convent, where he soon after died. 

The concludiDg years of St Bernard's life were devoted 
to the completion of his most important work, "The Book 
of Consideration," intended to remind his much loved 
pupil, Eugenius, of the duties devolving upon him in his 
high station. But Eugenius died before the work was 
completed. And St Bernard, after again becoming a bene- 
factor to a large portion of his fellow-men, by being the 
mediator between the people of Mentz and some neigh- 
bouring princes, whom he reconciled with his usual skill, 
returned to Clairvaux, to prepare for his own departure. 
A short time before his death, when his pains had ceased 
to be alleviated by sleep, he dictated these words to a 
2d 2 


friend: "Pray to the Saviour, who willeth not the death 
of a sinner, that He delay not my departure, and yet that 
He will be pleased to guard it. Support him who hath no 
merits of his own by your prayers, that the adversary of 
our salvation may not find any place open to his attacks." 

Looking round upon his weeping brethren who no longer 
attempted to restrain the demonstration of their grief, the 
compassionate and tender hearted Bernard exclaimed : 
" I am in a strait betwixt two pains, a desire to depart 
and be with Christ which is far better ; nevertheless, the 
love of my children urgeth me to remain here below." 
These were the last words of Bernard of Clairvaux. His 
life had been one of the strictest mortification, and it was 
brought to a close in the year 1153, at the age of sixty- 

The character of this illustrious man will have been 
seen from the facts narrated above. To powerful genius, 
and perfect confidence in himself, by which he was led to 
regard himself as an exception to ordinary rules, he united 
a singleness of purpose and disinterestedness which made 
him all powerful. He armed the warriors of the crusade, 
but when they offered to make him their leader, he declined 
the honour, for he felt that under such a leader a host of 
warriors was not likely to prevail. He had at his option 
the highest honours in the Church, which were sometimes 
pressed upon him, but he declined them all, from the 
feeling that as a poor monk he could better promote the 
cause of true religion. He united to firmness of principle, 
and severity against vice, an enthusiastic appreciation of 
virtue, and the tenderness of a little child towards his 
friends. He acted upon principle, but his feelings were 

In one of his letters he thus unconsciously draws his 
own portrait. " That is a high degree of virtue, and as 
rare as it is high, that does great things without perceiving 
its own greatness ; that is alone unconscious of the lustre 
of that holiness which dazzles all other eyes ; and that, 


while admired by the whole world, looks upon itself as 
vile, and only deserving of contempt. This is the greatest 
of all virtues," — and it was his : for he who was highest 
in the judgment of the Christian world (so that " all affairs 
seemed to depend on his precepts and example, who was 
consulted as an oracle by high and low, and acknowledged 
as an arbiter both of truces and of peace ; to whose prayers 
all orders of men desired to be recommended, since he 
was so generally admired and beloved, that he had the 
good wishes of the whole world, having gained more 
favour in his humility than Solomon in all his glory ;") 
ever remained the lowest in his own, " uniting the force 
of a master with the docility of a child." 

The editions of his works are numerous. The best 
edition is that of Mabillon, printed at Paris in 1690, in 
two volumes, folio. In Dupin may be found a particular 
account of his letters, 440 in number, and of his other 
works. His meditations have been translated by Dean 
Stanhope. His sermons have been the delight of the 
faithful in all ages. " They are," says Sixtus of Sienna, 
" at once so sweet and so ardent that it is as though his 
mouth were a fountain of honey, and his heart a whole 
furnace of love." The doctrines of St Bernard differ on 
some material points from that of the modern church of 
Rome : he did not hold those refinements and perversions 
of the doctrine of justification which the school divinity 
afterwards introduced, and the reformers denounced : he 
rejected the notion of supererogatory works : he did not 
hold the modern purgatorial doctrines of the church of 
Rome ; neither did he admit the immaculate conception 
of the Blessed Virgin. He maintained also the orthodox 
doctrine of the Real Presence, as distinguished from the 
Romish doctrine of transubstantiation. In his discourse 
on the Lord's Supper, he joins together the outward form 
of the Sacrament, and the spiritual efficacy of it, as the 
shell and the kernel, the sacred sign, and the thing sig- 
nified; the one he takes out of the words of the InstitutioD, 
and the other, out of Christ's sermon in the sixth of 

3-20 BERNARD. 

St John. And in the same place explaining, that Sacra- 
ments are not things absolute in themselves without any 
relation, but mysteries, wherein by the gift of a visible 
sign, an invisible and divine grace with the Body and 
Blood of Christ is given, he saith, " that the visible sign 
is as a ring, which is given not for itself or absolutely, but 
to invest and give possession of an estate made over to 

one." Now, as no man can fancy that the ring is 

substantially changed into the inheritance, whether lands 
or houses, none also can say with truth, or without 
absurdity, that the bread and wine are substantially 
changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. But in his 
sermon on the Purification, he speaks yet more plainly : 
" The body of Christ in the Sacrament is the food of the 
soul, not of the belly, therefore we eat Him not corpo- 
rally: but in the manner that Christ is meat, in the 
same manner we understand that He is eaten." Also in 
his sermon on St Martin, "To this day," saith he, "the 
same flesh is given to us, but spiritually, therefore not 
corporally." For the truth of things spiritually present 
is certain also. 

Bishop Cosin remarks that Bellarmine confesseth with 
St Bernard, that " Christ in the Sacrament is not given 
to us carnally, but spiritually ; and would to God he had 
rested here, and not outgone the holy Scriptures, and the 
doctrine of the fathers. For endeavouring, with pope 
Innocent III. and the council of Trent, to determine the 
manner of the presence and manducation of Christ's 
Body, with more nicety than was fitting, he thereby fool- 
ishly overthrew all that he had wisely said before, denied 
what he had affirmed, and opposed his own opinion. His 
fear was lest his adversaries should apply that word spiri- 
tually, not so much to express the manner of presence, 
as to exclude the very substance of the Body and Blood of 
Christ; "therefore," saith he, "upon that account it is 
not safe to use too much that of St Bernard, ' the Body of 
Christ is not corporally in the Sacrament,' without adding 
presently the above-mentioned explanation." How much 


do we comply with human pride, and curiosity, which 
would seem to understand all things ! Where is the 
danger ? And what does he fear, as long as all they that 
believe the Gospel, own the true nature, and the real and 
substantial presence of the Body of Christ in the Sacra- 
ment, using that explication of St Bernard, concerning 
the manner, which he himself, for the too great evidence 
of truth, durst not but admit ? and why doth he own that 
the manner is spiritual, not carnal, and then require a 
carnal presence, as to the manner itself? As for us, we 
all openly profess with St Bernard, that the presence of 
the Body of Christ in the Sacrament, is spiritual, and 
therefore true and real ; and with the same Bernard, and 
all the ancients, we deny that the Body of Christ is 
carnally either present or given. The thing we willingly 
admit, but humbly and religiously forbear to enquire into 
the manner. 

" We believe a presence and union of Christ with our 
soul and body, which we know not how to call better than 
sacramental, that is, effected by eating ; that while we eat 
and drink the consecrated bread and wine, we eat and 
drink therewithal the Body and Blood of Christ, not in a 
corporal manner, but some other way, incomprehensible, 
known only to God, which we call spiritual ; for if with 
St Bernard and the fathers a man goes no further, we 
do not find fault with a general explication of the manner, 
but with the presumption and self-conceitedness of those 
who boldly and curiously inquire what is a spiritual pre- 
sence, as presuming that they can understand the manner 
of acting of God's Holy Spirit. We contrariwise confess 
with the fathers, that this manner of presence is unac- 
countable, and past finding out, not to be searched and 
pried into by reason, but believed by faith. And if it 
seems impossible that the flesh of Christ should descend, 
and come to be our food, through so great a distance ; we 
must remember how much the power of the Holy Spirit 
exceeds our sense and our apprehensions, and how absurd 
it would be to undertake to measure His immensity by 


our weakness and narrow capacity ; and so make our faith 
to conceive and believe what our reason cannot compre- 

" Yet our faith doth not cause or make that presence, 
but apprehends it as most truly and really effected by the 
word of Christ : and the faith whereby we are said to eat 
the flesh of Christ, is not that only whereby we believe 
that He died for our sins, (for this faith is required and 
supposed to precede the Sacramental Manducation,) but 
more properly, that whereby we believe those words of 
Christ, This is My Body; which was St Austin's meaning 
when he said, " Why dost thou prepare thy stomach and 
thy teeth ? Believe and thou hast eaten." For in this 
mystical eating by the wonderful power of the Holy Ghost, 
we do invisibly receive the substance of Christ's Body 
and Blood, as much as if we should eat and drink both 

" The result of all this is, that the Body and Blood of 
Christ are sacramentally united to the bread and wine, so 
that Christ is truly given to the faithful ; and yet is not 
to be here considered with sense or worldly reason, but by 
faith, resting on the words of the Gospel. Now it is said, 
that the Body and Blood of Christ are joined to the bread 
and wine, because, that in the celebration of the Holy 
Eucharist, the flesh is given together with the bread, and 
the blood together with the wine. All that remains is, 
that we should with faith and humility admire this high 
and sacred mystery, which our tongue cannot sufficiently 
explain, nor our heart conceive." 

The materials for this life have been chiefly drawn 
from Neander's Life and Times of St Bernard. The ra- 
tionalism and liberalism of Neander have been corrected 
in the few but very judicious notes of the accomplished 
translator, Matilda Wrench. The most ancient biography 
of St Bernard is in five books, and is to be found in the 
second volume of Mabillon. Use has also been made 
of Maitland's Dark Ages. Cosin on Transubstantiation. 


Bernard, of Menthon, was born at Annecy, in Savoy, 
in 923. As archdeacon of Piedmont he was employed 
successfully in the conversion of the pagan inhabitants of 
the neighbouring mountains, and replaced their temple of 
Jupiter on Mont-joux by a conventual establishment, of 
which the inmates are employed in assisting the traveller 
when in danger, and in rendering hospitality to pilgrims 
crossing the Alps on their way to Rome. He placed 
another such establishment near the Colonnade of Jupi- 
ter, so called from a series of upright stones placed on 
the snow to point out a safe track. These two religious 
establishments still remain among the most inhospitable 
passages of the Alps, and are known as the Great and 
Little St Bernard. The monastery on Great St Bernard 
is probably the highest habitation in Europe; and in 
both the monasteries the self-devoted monks train their 
dogs to trace out the weary and perishing traveller, to 
whom they extend all the hospitable attention his case 
may require. Bernard, having effected this great work, 
and having established a claim upon the gratitude of pos- 
terity, resumed his missionary labours until his death, 
which occurred at No vara, in the Milanese, on the 28th of 
May, 1008. — Moreri. Biog. Univ. 

Bernard, Andrew, was bom at Toulouse, and became 
an Augustine monk. He is chiefly distinguished for 
having been poet laureat to Henry VII and Heniy VIII, 
kings of England, with a salary of ten marks, until he 
could obtain some equivalent appointment. He is also 
supposed to have been the royal historiographer and pre- 
ceptor in grammar to prince Arthur. He wrote several 
poems interesting chiefly to the antiquarian, which are to 
be found in manuscript in some of the public libraries. — 
Wartons Hist, of Poetry. 

Bernard, Claude, called Father Bernard, or the poor 
priest, was born at Dijon, in 1588. After a youth of dis- 
sipation he grew disgusted with the world, and devoted 


himself wholly to relieving and comforting the poor. He 
assisted them by his charities and exhortations to the end 
of his days, with incredible fervour, stooping and humbling 
himself to do the meanest offices for them. Father Ber- 
nard having persisted in refusing all the benefices offered 
him by the court, cardinal Richelieu told him one day, 
that he absolutely insisted on his asking him for some- 
thing, and left him alone to consider of it. When the 
cardinal returned half an hour after, Bernard said, 
" Monseigneur, after much study, I have at last found 
out a favour to ask of you : when I attend any sufferers 
to the gibbet to assist them in their last moments, we are 
carried in a cart with so bad a bottom, that we are every 
moment in danger of falling to the ground. Be pleased, 
therefore, Monseigneur, to order that some better boards 
may be put to the cart." Cardinal Richelieu laughed 
heartily at this request, and gave orders directly that the 
cart should be thoroughly repaired. Father Bernard was 
ever ready to assist the unhappy by his good offices, for 
which purpose he one day presented a petition to a noble- 
man in place, who being of a very hasty temper, flew into 
a violent passion, and said a thousand injurious things of 
the person for whom the priest interested himself, but 
Bernard still persisted in his request; at which the 
nobleman was at last so irritated, that he gave him a box 
on the ear. Bernard immediately fell at his feet, and, 
presenting the other ear, said, " Give me a good blow on 
this also, my lord, and grant my petition." The nobleman 
was so affected by this apparent humility as to grant 
Bernard's request. He died March 23, 1641. The 
French clergy had such a veneration for him as often to 
solicit that he might be enrolled in the calendar of saints. 
In 1638 he founded the school of the Thirty-three, so 
called from the number of years our Saviour passed on 
earth, and a very excellent seminary. Immediately after 
his death appeared " Le Testament du reverend pere 
Bernard, et ses pensees pieuses," Paris, 1641, 8vo, and 
♦' Le Recit des choses arrivees a la mort du rev. pere 


Bernard," same year. The abbe Papillon also quotes a 
work entitled, " Entretiens pendant sa demiere maladie." 
His life was written by several authors, by Legauffre, 
Giry, de la Serre, Gerson, and Lampereur the Jesuit. 
This last, which was published at Paris, 1708, 12mo, is 
too full of visions, revelations, and miracles, to afford any 
just idea of Bernard. — Lavocat. Biog. Univ. 

Bernard, Edward, was born in 1638, at Paulerspury, 
in Northamptonshire. From Merchant-Taylor's school, he 
went to St John's college, Oxford, of which society he 
became fellow, and proceeded B.D. in 1668. The same 
year he went to Leyden to consult the oriental manu- 
scripts in that university, particularly one of Apollonius 
Pergaeus on conic sections, which he transcribed with a 
view to publication, though the design was prevented. It 
was, however, printed by Dr Halley. In 1669 he was 
appointed deputy to sir Christopher Wren in the Savilian 
professorship of astronomy, and in 1673 he succeeded 
that great man on his resignation of the chair. About 
this time a plan was formed for publishing all the ancient 
mathematicians, and Id Bernard being selected for the 
work, printed a part of Euclid as a specimen, but this 
design fell to the ground. He was equally unfortunate in 
his undertaking of a new edition of Josephus, but his 
collections for this purpose were made a proper use of by 
Havercamp. In 1676 he went to France as tutor to the 
dukes of Grafton and Northumberland, and in 1683 he 
visited Leyden again, to be present at the sale of Nicholas 
Heinsius's library. The year following he took his doc- 
tor's degree, and in 1691, on being presented to the 
rectory of Brightwell, in Berkshire, resigned his professor- 
ship. In 169*2 he was employed in drawing up a cata- 
logue of the MSS in Great Britain and Ireland, which 
was printed at Oxford in 1697, folio. Towards the close 
of his life he was much afflicted with the stone, notwith- 
standing which, such was his thirst for knowledge, that 

VOL. H. 2 E 


he took a third voyage to Holland to attend the sale of 
Golius's library. Soon after his retnrn he fell into a con- 
sumption, and died in 1696. His remains were interred 
in the chapel of St John's college, where his widow, to 
whom he had been married four years, erected a monu- 
ment to his memory. Besides some papers in the Philo- 
sophical Transactions, he published — 1. A Treatise of the 
ancient Weights and Measures, printed first in English, 
and afterwards in Latin, at Oxford. 2. Private Devo- 
tions, with an Explication of the Commandments, 12mo. 
3. Orbis eruditi Literatura a charactere Samaritico deducta ; 
a folio sheet, in copper plate. 4. Etymologia Britannica, 
4to. 5. An edition of Guise's " Misuse pars prima," 4to, 
6. Chronologiae Samaritanas Synopsis. 7. Annotationes 
in Epistolam S. Barnabse, 8vo. 8. Short Notes upon 
Cotelerius's edition of the Fathers. 9. Veterum Testi- 
monia de Versione, lxxii. Interpretum, 8vo. His library 
was sold by auction after his death, except a portion pur- 
chased for the Bodleian collection. — Biog. Brit. 

Bernard, James, was bom at Nions, in Dauphine in 
1658, and was educated at Geneva. At the age of twenty- 
one he was chosen minister of Venterol, in Dauphine, from 
whence he removed to Vinsobres in the same province ; 
but having preached in places interdicted by the king, he 
retired to Geneva, next to Lausanne, and afterwards to 
Holland, where he was appointed one of the ministers of 
Ganda. He obtained leave, however, to fix his residence 
at the Hague, where he taught mathematics and philo- 
sophy, and commenced a political journal on the state of 
Europe. In 1692 he began his " Lettres Historiques," 
upon the same plan ; and he also continued the Biblio- 
theque Universelle of his friend and relation, Le Clerc. In 
1669 he published Actes et Negociations de la Paix de 
Rvsw'ic," 4 vols. 12mo. The next year appeared a general 
collection of Treaties of Peace, in 4 vols, folio, but he did 
not put his name to either of these works. He avowed, 


However, his continuation of Bayle's " Xouvelles de la 
Republique des Lettres," which he began in 1698, and 
carried on to the year 1710. The reputation which he 
had acquired induced the Walloon church of Leyden to 
elect him for their minister, but the appointment was lost 
by the interference of king William, who disliked his 
republican politics. On the death of that monarch he 
succeeded in obtaining the appointment, and was also 
chosen professor of philosophy and mathematics in that 
university. In 1716 he published a supplement to 
Moreri's dictionary. He died in 1718. Besides the 
above works he published — 1. Le Theatre des etats du 
due de Savoie, traduit du Latin de Bleau, 2 vols, folio. 
2. Traite de la Repentance tardive, 12ino. 3. De 
l'excellence de la religion Chretienne, 2 vols. 8vo. A 
translation of this work into English was published in 
1793, 8vo, with the life of the author, and notes. — Moreri 

Beenakd, Nicholas. The place and time of his birth is 
not stated, but he was educated at Cambridge, where he 
took his M.A. degree. He was matriculated at Oxford, in 
1628, and being chaplain to archbishop Usher, obtained 
a doctor's degree at Trinity college, Dublin. Through the 
archbishop's interest he was made dean of Ardagh. In 
1642 he returned to England, and was presented to the 
rectory of Whitchurch, in Shropshire. Having complied 
with the ruling powers, and become an apostate from his 
religion, he was made chaplain to Cromwell, and preacher to 
the society of Gray's Inn. On the restoration of Charles II, 
his easy religion enabled him to conform, and to retain 
his rich living. Having no inclination to run the risk of 
martyrdom, he did not return to his deanery in Ireland : 
Whitchurch was indeed the more lucrative appointment. 
He died in 1661. His works are — 1. The penitent Death 
of a woeful Sinner, or the penitent Death of John Atherton, 
bishop of Waterford, with a sermon on the same, 8vo. 
2. Proceedings of the Siege of Drogheda, 4to. 3. A Dia- 
logue between Paul and Agrippa, 4to. 4. A Farewell 


Sermon preached at Drogheda, 8vo. 5. The Life ancl 
Death of archbishop Usher, 8vo. 6. The judgment of the 
late archbishop of Armagh, on the extent of Christ's Death ; 
secondly, of the Sabbath, &c. 8vo. 7. A Defence of this 
last work against Dr Heylin. 8. Devotions of the ancient 
Church, 8vo. 9. Clavi Trabales, or nails fastened by some 
great masters of assemblies, on the King's Supremacy, &c. 
4to. — Biog. Brit. 

Bernard, John, was born at Caistor, in Lincolnshire. 
He was educated at Queen's college, Cambridge, but 
removed soon afterwards to Oxford, where, by the parlia- 
mentary visitors, he was made fellow of Lincoln college 
in 1648. He married Letice, daughter of the celebrated 
Peter Heylin, but his connection with that loyal and reli- 
gious family did not lead him to change his principles 
while the rebels were in power. His " Censura Cleri, or 
Against scandalous Ministers, not fit to be restored to the 
churches livings in point of Prudence, Piety, and Fame," 
was published in 1659, and was aimed as a blow against 
those unfortunate incumbents who, in 1654, had been 
ejected from their livings by Cromwell's triers. Bernard 
had valuable preferment in Lincolnshire, which he retained 
at the restoration by conforming. He obtained also a 
prebend in Lincoln cathedral. He died in 1683. He 
published two works in vindication of Peter Heylin, his 
father-in-law. The first of these is entitled, Theologo- 
Historicus ; or the true Life of the most Rev Divine, and 
excellent Historian, Peter Heylin, D.D., Sub-Dean of 
Westminster, Lond. 1683, 8vo. It is professedly an 
answer to a life, treated as defective and calumnious, of 
that eminent man, by Vernon. Bernard's other vindi- 
cation is printed with this, and is entitled, An Answer to 
Mr Baxter's false accusations of Dr Heylin. — Wood's 

Bernardin of Siena, so called because his family, 
named Albizeschi, came from that city, was bom at Massa 


Carrara, where his father was then chief magistrate, 
September 8, 1380. Having lost his mother when he was 
three, and his father when he was seven years old, he was 
educated by one of his aunts till he was thirteen years of 
age, and then his relatives sent for him to Siena, where he 
studied grammar under Onuphrius, and philosophy under 
John of Spoletta. Some time after he entered into the 
confraternity of the disciplinators of the hospital of the 
Scala in Siena ; there he assisted with much fervour and 
zeal those who were infected with the plague, and practised 
great austerities. In the year 1405, he made profession of 
the rule of St Francis, in the monastery of the Observan- 
tines of Columbarius, which was near to Siena. Being 
ordained priest, he addicted himself to preaching, and 
founded in Italy many new monasteries of the Observan- 
tines, and reformed those that were ancient. He was after- 
wards sent to Jerusalem, and made guardian of the Holy 
Land ; and having returned from thence, he continued 
to preach in Italy ; and to stir up the devotion of the 
people towards our Lord, he had a custom of shewing the 
name of Jesus, painted iu a circle surrounded with the 
sun, and made a great many such pictures, which sold 
very well. His enemies accused him of affirming in his 
sermons many false things, and delated him to pope 
Martin the fifth, who cited him to appear before himself, 
and caused his works to be examined : but finding no- 
thing in them worthy of condemnation, the pope having 
heard his defence, absolved him, and sent him back, 
with permission to continue his preaching. The cities of 
Siena, Ferrara, and Urbin, desired pope Eugenius the IVth 
to make him their bishop, but he refused the bishopric, 
not withstau ding the importunity of this pope in urging 
it upon him : he would only accept of the title of vicar- 
general of the friars of the Observantines for all Italy: and 
there he reformed or founded anew nearly three hundred 
monasteries. He died, at last, in the citv of Aquila. in 
■) e2 


Abruzzo, May the 20th, 1444. He was canonized by 
Nicolas V, in 1450. 

His works have been printed at Venice, in 1591, by 
the care of Rodulphus, bishop of Sinigaglia ; and at Paris, 
in 1636, by the care of Peter de la Haye, in two volumes 
in folio. — Dupin. 

Berriman, William, was born September 24th, 1688, 
and was the son of Mr John Berriman, apothecary, in 
Bishopsgate-street, and the grandson of the Rev Mr Berri- 
man, rector of Bedington, in Surry. He had his primary 
education at Banbury, in Oxfordshire, and at Merchant- 
Taylor's school. At seventeen years of age he was entered 
as a commoner at Oriel college, in Oxford, where he took 
his several degrees, when of proper standing. He was 
curate and lecturer of Allhallows, in Thames-street, and 
lecturer of St Michael's, Queenhithe. He was appointed 
domestic chaplain to Dr Robinson, bishop of London, in 
1720, and was soon after collated by him to the living of 
St Andrews, Undershaft. 

In the year 1727 he was elected fellow of Eton college, 
by the interest of Dr Godolphin, the provost, without any 
solicitation. Here he chiefly resided in the summer, and 
in his parsonage house in the winter, where he died 
February 5th, 1749-50, in the sixty-second year of his 
age ; leaving behind him a high character for learning, 
practical good sense, integrity, and strict regard for his 
professional obligations of every kind. 

His writings are, a seasonable Review of Mr Whilon's 
Account of primitive Doxologies, printed in the year 1719. 
An historical account of the Trinitarian Controversy, in 
eight sermons at lady Movers lecture, 1715. A defence 
of some passages in the historical account, 1731. Brief 
Remarks on Mr Chandler's Introduction to the History of 
the Inquisition, 1733. A Review of the Remarks. Ser- 
mons at Boyle's lectures, in 2 vols, 8vo, 1733. 

Besides these he published many occasional sermons in 


his life time, and after his death several others were 
published by his brother John Berriman, M.A. from his 
original MSS, under the title of Christian Doctrines and 
Duties explained and recommended. — Gen. Biog. Diet. 

Bertram, The Priest. This is the ordinary designa- 
tion of an author who took a distinguished part in the 
controversy concerning the Eucharist in the ninth cen- 
tury, when the doctrine of transubstantiation was first in- 
troduced into the Church. His proper name was Ratramn, 
which seems to have been converted into Bertram by the 
affix of BE, the first syllable of Beatus, frequently placed 
before names of persons esteemed for their piety and 
learning. Be-Ratram, by the carelessness of transcribers, 
came in process of time to be written Bertram. 

He was in all probability a native of France, and of the 
province of Picardy, where he became a monk in the early 
part of the ninth century. He was educated in the Bene- 
dictine monastery of Corbey, in the diocese of Amiens. 
In this cloister he became a proficient in the study of 
divinity, and, like most divines of the age, was deeply read 
in the Scriptures. He was here ordained priest, and 
after the death of Baro he was, as is generally supposed, 
promoted to the government of the monastery of Orbais, 
in the diocese of Soissons, by Charles the Bald. 

That he was in great esteem in his own age is evident 
from the fact that he was consulted by Charles the Bald 
upon points of such moment as the predestination con- 
troversy, and the controversy relating to Christ's pre- 
sence in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The first 
of his writings extant is that of the Manner of Christ's 
Birth, which was written before 844. His two Books 
on Predestination were written, as the president Mauguin 
conjectures, in 850. In 853 he wrote a book to justify 
the use of an old hymn, which Hincmar of Rheims 
had commanded to be altered, directing that instead 
of Te, Trina Deitas, should be used the words, Te, 
Summa Deitas, imagining the former expression to make 


three Gods : Ratramn asserted the expression to be ortho- 
dox by the authority of St Hilary and St Augustine. 
This work is lost. He also wrote a book, de Anima, 
at the instance of Odo, sometime abbot of Corbey and 
bishop of Beauvais, against a monk of the same convent, 
who taught that all men had but one and the same soul. 
This book is extant in manuscript in the library of 
Bennet college, Cambridge, in that of Salisbury cathedral, 
and in that of St Eligius, at Noyon, in France, but not 

About the year 868, pope Nicolas I, having desired 
Hincmar and the French bishops to consider and answer 
the objections of the Greeks against the Latin church 
and Hincmar, having emplo} T ed Odo, bishop of Beauvais, 
therein, it is probable he recommended Ratramn to the 
bishops, as a man fit to undertake such a work, and 
accordingly he wrote four books on that occasion, published 
by Dacherius. 

There is also among the MSS in the Leipsic library, an 
epistle concerning the Cynocephali, whether they be truly 
men and of Adam's seed, or brute creatures? What 
moved him to discuss this question, or how he hath 
determined it, is not known. The epistle is directed to 
one Rimbert, a presbyter, the same, probably, who suc- 
ceeded Anscharius in the see of Breme, and wrote his 

His great work, De Corpore et Sanguine Domini, 
concerning the Body and Blood of our Lord, was 
most probably written in the year 850. As this work 
excited extraordinary attention about the time of the 
reformation, the reader shall be supplied with extracts 
from it. It is one of those works which proves, to the 
infinite perplexity of the papists, that the doctrine of 
tran substantiation was a novelty in the ninth century, and 
that it was not introduced into the Church without the 
opposition of the more orthodox divines. 

The mode of the real presence in the Sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper, is left undefined in Holy Scripture. It is 


a subject od which there is a natural desire, however, 
that something positive should be asserted. What are 
we precisely to believe on this point ? is a question which 
will occur to the mind. The Scriptures give no clear 
answer, the primitive church gives no clear answer, the 
church of England gives no clear answer. All that is 
declared is, that " the Body and Blood of Christ are 
verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in 
the Lord's Supper." The mode of the presence is not 
stated. Before the ninth century attempts had been 
made to define the mode of this mystery. But Charle- 
magne having, in an epistle to Alcuin, expressed his belief 
that the sacramental elements are figures of Christ's Body 
and Blood, the question, though stated, was not agitated 
among polemics while he swayed the sceptre. The church 
of England, it is well known, believed in the spiritual 
presence only, at the distance of more than two centuries 
from the death of Charlemagne. In the earlier part of 
the ninth century, however, inquisitive minds on the 
continent were fixed upon this subject, in consequence of 
a work offered to the world by Paschasius Radbert, abbot 
of Corbey. In this he asserted that the Lord's Body, 
received in the eucharistic sacrifice, is the same Body 
that was born of the Virgin ; although even he did not 
proceed to the length of asserting that the elements were 
transubstantiated, but rather taught that they were united 
with the Incarnate Deity. His doctrine was no sooner 
published, than it met with violent opposition. Charles 
the Bald, anxious to form a sound opinion upon the con- 
troversy which Radbert had excited, applied, as we have 
before stated, to Ratramn : and from his most valuable 
treatise we learn, not only that the doctrine of transub- 
stantiation was not then established, but also that then, 
as now, in the church of England, there existed no doctrine 
as to the mode of Christ's presence in the Holy Sacrament: 
"while some of the faithful," observes Ratramn, "say 
concerning the Body and Blood of Christ, which is daily 
celebrated in the Church, that there is no veil nor figure, 


but that the very thing itself is openly and really exhibited; 
and others of them affirm, that these things, (viz. the Body 
and Blood of Christ,) are present in a mystery or figure ; 
that it is one thing that appears to our bodily eyes, and 
another thing that our faith beholds ; it is plain, there 
is no small difference in judgment among them : and 
whereas the Apostle writes to the faithful, that they 
should all think and speak the same thing, and that there 
should be no schism among them ; there is no small 
division and schism among those who believe and speak 
differently concerning the mystery of the Body and Blood 
of Christ. 

In noticing the doctrine he first defines what a Figure 
is, and what the Truth. 

" A figure is a certain covert manner of expression, 
which exhibits what it intends under certain veils. For 
example ; we call the woed bread, as in the Lords Prayer, 
we beg that God would give us our daily bread : or as 
Christ in the gospel speaks, I am the living bread that 
came down from heaven. Or when he calls Himself a 
vine, and His disciples branches, I am the true vine, and 
ye are the branches. In all these instances, one thing is 
said and another thing is understood. 

" The truth is the representation of the very thing itself, 
not veiled with any shadow or figure, but expressed accord- 
ing to the pure and naked (or to speak more plainly yet) 
natural signification of the words. As when we say that 
Christ was born of a Virgin, suffered, was crucified, dead 
and buried : here is nothing shadowed out under the 
coverture of figures, but the very truth of the thing is ex- 
pressed, according to the natural signification of the words ; 
nor is any thing here understood but what is said. But 
in the fore- mentioned instances it is not so. For in sub- 
stance, neither is Christ bread, or a vine, nor the apostles 
branches. These are figures, but in the other the plain 
and naked truth is related. 

" Now let us return to the subject which hath occasion- 
ed the saying of all this, viz. the Body and Blood of Christ. 


If there be no figure in that mystery, it is not properly 
called a mystery ; for that cannot be said to be a mystery, 
which hath nothing secret, nothing remote from our bodily 
senses, nothing covered under any veil. But as for that 
bread, which by the ministry of the priest, is made Christ's 
body, it sheweth one thing outwardly to our senses, and 
inwardly proclaims quite another thing to the minds of 
the faithful. That which outwardly appears is bread, as 
it was before in form, colour, and taste : but inwardly there 
is quite another thing presented to us, and that much 
more precious and excellent, because it is heavenly and 
divine : that is, Christ's Body is exhibited which is beheld, 
received, and eaten, not by our carnal senses, but by the 
sight of the believing soul. 

" Likewise the wine, which by the priest's consecration, 
is made the Sacrament of Christ's Blood, appears one 
thing outwardly, and inwardly contains aD other : for what 
doth outwardly appear but the substance of wine ? Taste 
it, there is the relish of wine ; smell it, there is the scent 
of wine ; behold it, there is the colour of wine. But if 
you consider it inwardly, then it is not the liquor of wine, 
but the liquor of Christ's Blood, which is tasted, seen, and 
smelt. Since these things are undeniable, it is evident, 
that the bread and wine are figuratively the Body and 
Blood of Christ : as to outward appearance, there is neither 
the likeness of flesh to be seen in that bread, nor the 
liquor of blood in that wine, and yet after the mystical 
consecration, they are no longer called bread and wine, 
but the Body and Blood of Christ." 

Having produced some additional arguments, he says 
further, " Let us consider the font of Holy Baptism, which 
is not undeservedly styled the fountain of life, because it 
regenerates those who descend into it, to the newness of a 
better life ; and makes those who were dead in sins, alive 
unto righteousness. Is it the visible element of water 
which hath this efficacy ? Verily, unless it had obtained 
a sanctifying virtue, it could by no means wash away the 
stain of our sins : and if it had not a quickening power, it 


could not at all give life to the dead. The dead I mean 
not as to their bodies, but to their souls. Yet if in that 
fountain you consider nothing but what the bodily sense 
beholdeth, you see only a fluid element of a corruptible 
nature, and capable of washing the body only. But the 
power of the Holy Ghost, came upon it by the priests 
consecration, and it obtained thereby an efficacy to wash 
not the bodies only, but also the souls of men ; and by a 
spiritual virtue, to take away their spiritual filth. 

" Behold, how in one and the same element, are seen 
two things contrary to each other; a thing corruptible, 
giving incorruption ; and a thing without life, giving 
life. It is manifest then, that in the font, there is both 
somewhat, which the bodily sense perceiveth, which is 
therefore mutable and corruptible ; and somewhat which 
the eye of faith only beholds, and therefore is neither 
corruptible nor mortal. If you enqure what washes the 
outside, it is the element; but if you consider what 
purgeth the inside, it is a quickening power, a sanctifying 
power, a power conferring immortality. So then in its 
own nature, it is a corruptible liquor, but in the mystery, 
it is a healing power. 

" Thus also the Body and Blood of Christ, considered as 
to the outside only, is a creature subject to change and 
corruption. But if you ponder the efficacy of the mys- 
tery, it is life conferring immortality, on such as partake 
thereof. Therefore they are not the same things which 
are seen, and which are believed. For the things seen, 
feed a corruptible body, being corruptible themselves ; 
but those which are believed, feed immortal souls, being 
themselves immortal." 

The doctrine is then enforced by other instances of 
figurative language occuring in Scripture, such as no man 
ever dreamt of expounding literally. In explanation of 
John, vi. 53, he says, " We ought to consider how those 
words of our Saviour are to be understood, wherein he 
saith, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and 
drink his blood, ye have not life in you. For he doth 


not say, that His flesh which hung on the cross, should 
be cut in pieces, and eaten by His disciples ; or that His 
blood, which He was to shed for the redemption of the 
world, should be given His disciples to drink : for it had 
been a crime for His disciples to have eaten His flesh, and 
drunk His blood, in the sense that the unbelieving Jews 
then understood Him. 

" Wherefore, in the following words He saith to His dis- 
ciples, who did not disbelieve that saying of Christ, though 
they did not yet penetrate the true meaning of it. ' Doth 
this offend you ? What if ye shall see the Son of Man 
ascending up where He was before ?' As though He should 
say, ' Think not that you must eat my flesh and drink my 
blood corporally, divided into small pieces : for, when after 
my resurrection, you shall see me ascend into the heavens 
with my body entire, and all my blood, then you shall 
understand that the faithful must eat my flesh, not in the 
manner which these unbelievers imagine ; but that indeed 
believers must receive it, bread and wine being mystically 
turned into the substance of my body and blood. 

" And after, It is the Spirit, saith He, that quickeneth, 
the flesh profiteth nothing. He saith, the flesh profiteth 
nothing, taken as those infidels understood Him, but other- 
wise it giveth life, as it is taken mystically by the faithful. 
And why so? He himself shews, when He saith, It is the 
Spirit that quickeneth : therefore in this mystery of the 
Body and Blood of Christ, there is a spiritual operation, 
which giveth life ; without which operation the mysteries 
profit nothing; because they may indeed feed the body, 
but cannot feed the soul." 

He then proceeds to shew that the fathers of the Church 
before him understood the doctrine in the same sense: 
summing up his argument thus, " What do we learn 
hence, but that the Body and Blood of Christ are there- 
fore called mysteries, because they contain a secret and 
hidden dispensation? That is, it is one thing which tncy 
outwardly make shew of, and another thing, which they 
operate inwardly and invisibly. 
2f 2 


" And for this reason they are called Sacraments, be- 
cause, under the covert of bodily things, a divine power 
doth secretly dispense salvation (or grace) to them that 
faithfully receive them. 

" By all that hath been hitherto said, it appears, that 
the Body and Blood of Christ, which are received by the 
mouths of the faithful in the Church, are figures in respect 
of their visible nature ; but in respect of the invisible 
substance, that is, the power of the word of God, they are 
truly Christ's Body and Blood. Wherefore as they are 
visible creatures, they feed the body ; but as they have 
the virtue of a more powerful substance, they do both feed 
and sanctify the souls of the faithful." 

He then proceeds to the second question, " Whether 
that very Body which was born of Mary, which suffered, 
was dead and buried, and which sits at the right hand of 
the Father, be the same which is daily received in the 
church by the mouths of the faithful in the sacramental 
mysteries:" and here too he refers to the fathers and an- 
cient liturgies, giving an answer on their authority, to 
this question in the negative. 

" Your wisdom, most illustrious prince, may observe, 
how both by testimonies out of the Holy Scriptures, and 
the fathers, it is most evidently demonstrated, that the 
bread, which is called the Body of Christ, and the cup, 
which is called the Blood of Christ, is a figure, because it 
is a mystery ; and that there is a vast difference between 
that which is His Body mystically, and that Body which 
suffered, was buried, and rose again: for this was our 
Saviour's proper Body : nor is there any figure or significa- 
tion in it ; but it is the very thing itself. And the faithful 
desire the vision of Him, because He is our Head ; and 
when we shall see Him, our desire will be satisfied ; for 
He and the Father are one ; not in respect of our Saviour's 
Body, but forasmuch as the fulness of the Godhead dvvel- 
leth in the Man Christ. 

li But in that Body which is celebrated in a mystery, 
there is a figure, not only of the proper Body of Christ, 


but also of the people which believe in Christ : for it is a 
figure representing both bodies ; to wit, that of Christ, in 
which He died, and rose again, and that of the people 
which are regenerated, and raised from the dead (by 
baptism) into Christ. 

" And let me add, that the bread and cup, which are 
called, and are the Body and Blood of Christ, represent 
the memory of the Lord's passion or death ; as Himself 
teacheth us in the gospel, saying, ' This do in remem- 
brance of Me.' Which St Paul the apostle expounding, 
saith, ' As oft as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, 
you shew forth the Lord's death till he come.' 

" We are here taught both by our Saviour, and also by 
St Paul the apostle, that the bread and cup which are 
placed upon the altar, are set there for a figure, or in re- 
membrance of the Lord's death ; that what was really done 
long since, may be called to our present remembrance, 
that having His passion in our mind, we may be made 
partakers of that divine gift, whereby we are saved from 
death : knowing well, that when we shall come to the 
vision of Christ, we shall need no such instruments to 
admonish us, what His infinite goodness was pleased to 
suffer for our sakes ; for when we shall see Him face to 
face, we shall, not by the outward admonition of temporal 
things, but by the contemplation of the very thing itself, 
understand how much we are obliged to give thanks to the 
Author of our salvation. 

" But in what I say, I would not have it thought, that 
the Lord's Body and Blood is not received by the faithful 
in the sacramental mysteries ; for faith receives not that 
which the eye beholds, but what itself believes. It is 
spiritual meat, and spiritual drink, spiritually feeding the 
soul, and affording a life of eternal satisfaction ; as our 
Saviour Himself, commending this mystery, speaks : 
1 It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth 

Xo apology is necessary for having entered into an 
analysis of this treatise, which was very serviceable to our 


reformers, when they renounced the doctrine of transub- 
stantiation. " This Bertram," says bishop Ridley, "first 
pulled me by the ear, and that first brought me from the 
common error of the Romish Church, and caused me to 
search more diligently both the Scriptures and the writings 
of the old ecclesiastical fathers on this matter." 

The sentiments of Ratramn were in accordance with 
those of almost all among his contemporaries whose names 
are celebrated : Rabanus Mauras, the bishop of Mentz ; 
Agobard, archbishop of Lyons ; Claudius, bishop of Turin; 
the illustrious John Scot, usually designated Erigena; 
Druthmar, and several other authors of high repute in their 
day, who lent their aid to stay the progress of that un- 
scriptural fancy, by which the superstitious were labouring 
to embarrass the Eucharistic question. For the further 
history of this controversy the reader is referred to the 
articles on Berengarius and Lanfranc. 

Ratramn died about the year 870. — Ratramni Liber 
de Corpore et Sanguine Domini., with the treatises prefixed. 
Ridley's Life of Ridley. Soames' History of Reformation. 

Bertramn, Cornelius Bonaventure, professor of He- 
brew at Geneva and Lausanne, was born at Thouars, in 
Poitou, in 1531, and died at Lausanne in 1594. He 
published — 1. A Dissertation on the Republic of the 
Hebrews. 2. A Revision of the French Bible of Geneva. 
3. Pagnini's Thesaurus Linguae Sanctae. 4. A Parallel 
of the Hebrew and Syriac Languages. 5. Lucubrationes 
Frankendalenses. — Moreri. 

Berulle, Peter de, w r as born at the chateau de 
Serilli, near Troyes, in Champagne, on the 4th of February, 
1575, and was early distinguished for his piety and learn- 
ing. At the conference of Fontainbleau, he argued with 
the protestants of France, and obtained the approbation 
of friends and foes, equally for his learning, his winning 
address, and his gentle deportment. He was sent into 
Spain in 1603 ; for the purpose of inducing some of the 


Carmelites to settle in Paris ; and with considerable diffi- 
culty, after encountering much opposition, he succeeded 
in establishing that order in France. But he is chiefly 
distinguished for having founded, in 1613, the congrega- 
tion of the oratory in France ; an order which had been 
recently established in Italy by Philip Neri. He was 
solicited to undertake this work by Francis de Sales, and 
had to overcome the opposition of the Jesuits. He had 
made a vow in early life not to accept any ecclesiastical 
dignity, and he resisted the offer of some wealthy bishop- 
rics made to him by Henry IV. and Louis XIII. Upon 
Louis's threatening to apply to the pope to compel him to 
break his vow, and to accept the bishopric of Leon, Berulle 
replied, that "if the king continued to press him he should 
be obliged to quit the kingdom." But one of the abomi- 
nations of popery is the light regard which is paid to vows 
and oaths. The conduct of Louis, just alluded to, is a 
proof of this ; and he was correct in supposing that the 
pope would at his solicitation release Berulle from his 
vow, for this Urban VIII, in 1627, did, when he created 
him a cardinal, and caused him to accept two abbacies to 
support his dignity. The appointment justly gave offence 
to the French bishops ; and Berulle ought to have died 
rather than have submitted to the indignity of the car- 
dinalate. Berulle was employed in soliciting at Rome the 
dispensation under which Henrietta Maria was married to 
Charles I. He undertook the office with a bold, indepen- 
dent spirit, and threw the blame of the schism upon the 
want of a proper conciliating spirit on the part of Rome 
towards Henry VIII. The court of Rome took the hint ; 
although the difficulty could not have been great to obtain 
a dispensation, on political grounds then existing, from a 
court and church so venal and so open to worldly influ- 
ences as that of Rome. Much is said against mixed mar- 
riages by Romish divines, but the doctrine is only enforced 
against the poor. The royal, the noble, and the wealthy, 
can do as they will, after submitting to the farce of obtain- 


ing a dispensation. Berulle accompanied Henrietta Maria 
to England, and gained universal respect by his discretion 
and the amiability of his manners. He died suddenly, 
October 2nd, 1629, aged fifty-five, while celebrating the 
Holy Eucharist. 

His works, chiefly controversial, were printed in two 
vols, folio, in 1644, and they were reprinted in one volume 
in 1647. — Cerisi. Doni d'Attici. Carraccioli. 

Bervllus, bishop of Bostra, in Arabia, about the year 
244, was regarded with respect and esteem by his contem- 
poraries until he asserted a doctrine contrary to the Catholic 
faith, with reference to our Blessed Lord and Saviour. 
According to Eusebius he erred, " in daring to affirm that 
our Lord and Savoiur, before His coming among men, had 
no proper different subsistence ; neither any Godhead of 
His own, but only the Deity of the Father residing in Him." 
In explanation, Valesius, in his note upon the passage, 
shews that Beryllus erred in that he believed Christ had 
no proper personality before His Incarnation ; but he was 
orthodox in that he held that Christ had not a Godhead 
proper to Himself, only the Godhead of the Father residing 
in Him, for the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty 
co-eternal : otherwise there would be three Gods, not one 
God : therefore if this were Beryllus's opinion he may be 
excused ; but he erred on this head in that he asserted 
that the Son by Himself is not properly God, but has 
only a derivative divinity from the Father. For if he 
asserted that the Son subsisted not personally before 
His Incarnation, it follows that he deprived Him of His 
divinity. " 

Many disputes and conferences having been held by 
the bishops against Beryllus without effect, Origen was 
sent for. Origen at first entered into a friendly discourse 
with Beryllus to ascertain what his opinions really were, 
and when he discovered them he reprehended him for his 


want of orthodoxy. Origen having at length convinced 
the bishop of his error, "took him as it were by the hand," 
as Eusebius says, "and set him in the way of true doc- 
trine, and reinstated him in his former sound opinion." 
In the time of Eusebius the record of this conference was 
extant. Beryllus, besides some epistles to Origen, thank- 
ing him for his conversion, left behind him what Eusebius 
styles "several monuments of an elegant genius," by which 
Valesius thinks that he means hymns and poems. None 
of his works have come down to us. — Eusebius, with VaU- 
sius's Notes. 

Bessariox, Johx, was born at Trebisond, either in 1389 
or in 1395. He was educated under the philosopher 
Gemislius Pletho, who had the honour of introducing the 
study of Plato among the scholars of the West. He en- 
tered a monastery in the Peloponesus, and became a monk 
of the order of St Basil. In this monastery he remained 
for twenty-one years, employed in intellectual pursuits, 
and became one of the most distinguished scholars of 
the age. In the meantime his country was threatened 
with destruction, and the Byzantine throne was evidently 
about to fall a prey to Turkish ambition. Under these 
circumstances John Palaeologus the emperor perceived that 
his chief reliance under God, rested on the assistance he 
might obtain from the European provinces, whose sym- 
pathy was hopeless without concessions to the Latin 
Church. He accordingly expressed a disposition for 
such ; and it so happened that pope Eugenius IV was in 
such circumstances as to render it equally desirable for 
him to enter into a negociation with the Greeks. 

A council had been assembled at Basil, in Switzerland, 
in the year 1431. It was convened by Martin V, and his 
successor Eugenius IV. The object which the fathers 
here assembled set before them, and pursued with eager- 
ness, was the reform of the many abuses in the Church, 
which had been the fertile subject of complaint for many 
years. The avarice and sensual vices of successive popes 


had b een a scandal to the Church for many years, and the 
council of Basil conferred anew the decrees of Constance, 
concerning the superiority of a general council over the 
bishop of Rome, its power to punish him if refractory, and 
its freedom from being dissolved by him. The resolution 
of the synod was supported by the emperor of Germany, 
the king of France, and the duke of Milan. But the 
regulations referred to, and others, which restored the 
Church to her liberty, and restrained the tyrannical and 
most injurious usurpation of the Roman pontiff, not 
unnaturally excited the wrath of Eugenius, and a warm 
and violent contest ensued between the pope and the 
council. The latter summoned Eugenius to appear before 
them at Basil on the 26th day of June, 1437, in order to 
give an account of his conduct ; but the pontiff, instead of 
complying with the summons, issued a decree by which he 
pretended to dissolve the council, and to assemble another 
at Ferrara. Although this decree was treated with the 
utmost contempt by the council, who pronounced sentence 
of contumacy against the rebellious pontiff for having 
refused to obey their order; yet in 1438 Eugenius opened 
in person the council which he had summoned to meet at 

Thus were there two parties in the West anxious to 
enter into a treaty with the Byzantine emperor and the 
Greek church, in order to strengthen their hands. The 
council of Basil had invited the emperor and the patriarch 
of Constantinople to unite with them ; they agreed to pay 
his travelling expenses ; to remit an immediate sum of 
eight thousand ducats for the accommodation of the Greek 
clergy ; and in his absence to grant a supply of ten thou- 
sand ducats, with three hundred archers, and some galleys 
for the protection of Constantinople. But Eugenius was 
sensible of the importance of the emperor of the Greeks. 
He solicited his friendship; and to transport the Byzantine 
prince to Ferrara, he despatched nine galleys, with the 
persuasive argument of fifteen thousand ducats and the 
most splendid promises. In an evil hour John Palaeologus 


accepted the invitation of the pope: had he adhere 1 to the 
council of Basil it is probable that the papal authority 
would, if not overthrown, have been circumscribed within 
just limits, and the Eastern and Western Churches might 
have been once again united. But to Ferrara the Greek 
emperor repaired with the aged patriarch Joseph, and a 
various retinue of bishops and ministers, of monks and 
philosophers : among whom was Bessarion, now dignified 
with the title of archbishop of Nice. 

When they arrived at Ferrara the etiquette necessary to 
be observed by the visitors and the visited first engrossed 
their attention The pride of the pope yielded to sound 
policy, and, dispensing with the honours usually shewn 
him on such occasions, he received Palaeologus and 
his patriarch with a salutation of union and charity, 
although the Greek ecclesiastics refused a compliance 
with the ceremony of kissing the pope's foot. The chief 
points to be got over were the doctrine of purgatory, the 
papal supremacy, and the procession of the Holy Spirit 
from the Son, all which the Greeks denied. In the midst 
of the discussions a fever broke out at Ferrara, and the 
council was removed to Florence, an arrangement to which 
the Greek patriarch and bishops did not consent without 
considerable hesitation. At Florence the discussions were 
resumed. The Romanists were supported by the elo- 
quence of cardinal Julian, while Bessarion and Mark of 
Ephesus headed the Greeks. If Bessarion was surpassed 
by Mark in powers of reasoning, his skill and eloquence 
as a disputant made him more than a match for the most 
powerful advocates on the papal side. But the champion 
of the Eastern church was not inaccessible to flattery 
and bribes, and he became an apostate and a papist He 
was immediately employed by the pope to corrupt others ; 
and by rewards, persuasions, threats, and promises, eigh- 
teen of the Eastern bishops were induced to sign the decree 
made in the tenth session, declaring that the Holy Ghost 
proceedeth from the Father and the Son : that the Sacra- 
ment is validly consecrated in unleavened as well as in 


leavened bread : that there is a purgatory : and that the 
Roman pontiff is primate and head of the whole Church. 
The patriarch of Constantinople, (who died at the council,) 
Mark of Ephesus, the patriarch of Heraclea, and Athana 
sius, remained uncorrupted. 

The Greek deputies returned to Constantinople, and 
were received there with one burst of indignation. 

The Greek church indignantly rejected all that had 
been done, and in a council at Constantinople, held, 
according to their own account, a year and a half after 
the termination of that of Florence, all the Florentine 
proceedings were declared null and void, and the synod 
was condemned. The patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory, 
who had succeeded Joseph, and was inclined to the Latins, 
was deposed, and Athanasius chosen in his stead. The 
patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and the 
chiefs of the old patriarchates of Ephesus, Heraclea, and 
Cassarea, were all present and concerned in these transac- 
tions. The subscribing ecclesiastics instead of justifying, 
deplored their weakness : "Alas! we have been seduced 
by distress, by fraud, and by the hopes and fears of a 
transitory life. The hand that has signed the union 
should be cut off; and the tongue that has pronounced 
the Latin creed deserves to be torn from the root," was the 
answer to the reproachful question, what had become of the 
Italian synod. 

It may be here remarked, that although the synod of 
Florence is considered as oecumenical by ultra-montane 
papists, it was rejected not only by the Eastern church, 
but also by many of the Western churches. Cardinal de 
Lorraine declared in the synod of Trent, 1563, that the 
university of Paris did not hold the synod of Florence as 
oecumenical. Launoi says, that the Gallican church does 
not number it among general councils. 

We may well suppose that Bessarion was in no enviable 
predicament when he returned to his native land : he 
was branded as a bastard Greek, false to his country and 
his church, and was generally abhored as an apostate. 


He fled from disgrace in his own country to enjoy the 
rewards of his apostacy in Italy. Already, in 1439, the 
grateful Eugenius had made him a cardinal, and, under 
Nicholas V, he became archbishop of Siponto and cardinal 
bishop. Pius II, in 1463, mocked him with the title of 
patriarch of Constantinople; an insult to the Greek 
church, which only exasperated them yet more against 
Bessarion. On the death of Nicholas V, and again on 
the death of Paul II, Bessarion had a fair chance of being 
himself elected to the papal throne. 

His learning, and his patronage of learned men, added 
to the simplicity of his habits, in spite of wealth and high 
station, rendered him extremely popular. His house was 
the resort of men of genius, and when he appeared abroad 
his train was composed of the most distinguished scholars 
of the age. He was employed in some embassies of a 
difficult and delicate kind, but it would seem that his 
skill as a politician was not so great, as his genius in 
literature. On his return from an embassy to France, in 
which he not only failed, but was subjected, it is said, to 
the grossest personal indignities from the French king, 
he was taken ill at Piavenna, where he died on the 19th of 
November, 1472. His funeral, which took place at Piome, 
was attended by the pope, an honour not hitherto paid to 
the memory of any cardinal. His praises were celebrated 
in Latin and Greek verse, and his memory has been 
respected in the annals of literature as one of the restorers 
of classical learning. He had procured manuscripts, 
regardless of expense, from all parts of Greece, and having 
thus formed a noble library, he bequeathed it to the senate 
of Venice. His most celebrated works were his Latin trans- 
lations of Xenophon's Memorabilia, and Aristotle's Meta- 
physics, together with a treatise, Contra Calumniatorem 
Platonis, and his Orationes de gravissimis Periculis, quae 
rei-publicae Christianse a Turcis jam turn impendere pro- 
videbat. These two last works are very scarce and much 
valued by collectors. Although he left many theological 
works, very few of them have been printed. In a collection 


of Opuscula Theologica, published at Rome in 1634, 
four of his treatises are to be found, and another, De 
Sacramento Eucharistiae, was published in the Bibliotheca 
Patrum, at Paris. — Hodius de Greeds illustribus. Cave. 
Fabricius. Perceval Roman Schism. Palmer on the Church. 
Gibbon. Mosheim. 

Beveeidge, William, was born in the year 1636-7, 
at Barrow upon Soar, near Loughborough, in Leicester- 
shire. Having received his primary education, first under 
his father, and afterwards at Okeham school, in the county 
of Rutland, he was, in 1653, admitted as a sizar at St 
John's college, Cambridge. Here his attention was direct- 
ed not only to classical pursuits, but to the study also of 
the oriental languages ; a study which he recommended 
in a Latin treatise, and still more effectually by the pub- 
lication of a Syriac grammar, composed when he was only 
eighteen years of age, and published two years after. 
These publications were of much service in their day, and 
were both of them reprinted in 1664. His character at 
college, however, was established, not only for proficiency 
as a scholar, but for the depth of his piety, and the inte- 
grity of his life. What his early piety was may be seen 
from a juvenile work published after his death, and even 
now in high repute, his " Private Thoughts." This work 
was published in 1709, and has often been reprinted. It 
displays the piety of his disposition, and notwithstanding 
some doctrinal errors, is much valued. He seems in this 
work scarcely to have realized the Scripture view of rege- 
neration, which is ably expounded in the 35th sermon of 
the first volume of his works : — 

But what our Lord means by being * born of water and 
the Spirit,' is now made a question : I say now, for it was 
never made so till of late years. For many ages together 
none doubted of it, but the whole Christian world took it 
for granted, that our Saviour, by these words, meant only 
that except a man be baptized according to his institution, 
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God ; this being the 


most plain and obvious sense of the words, forasmuch as 
there is no other way of being born again of water, as well 
as of the Spirit, but only in the Sacrament of Baptism. 

" To understand what he means by being born again, 
we must call to mind what he saith in another place, 
' My kingdom is not of this world ;' (John, xviii. 36.) 
though it is in this world, it is not of it; it is not a 
secular or earthly kingdom, but a kingdom purely spiritual 
and heavenly : ; It is not meat and drink, but righte- 
ousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost ;' (Rom. 
xiv. 17.) And therefore when a man is born into this 
world, he is not thereby qualified for the kingdom of 
God, nor hath any right title to it, no more than as 
if he had not been born at all; but before he enter 
into that, he must be born again, he must undergo 
another kind of birth than he had before : he was before 
born of the flesh, he must now be born of the Sj)irit; 
otherwise he cannot be capable of entering into such 
a kingdom, as is altogether spiritual. Thus our Lord 
Himself explains his own meaning by adding immedi- 
ately in the next words, ' That which is born of the 
flesh, is flesh,' &c. . . . As if He had said, he that is 
bora, as all men are at first, only of the flesh, such a one 
is altogether carnal and sensual ; and so can be affected 
with nothing but the sensible objects of this world. But 
he that is born of the Spirit of God, thereby becomes a 
spiritual creature, and so is capable of those spiritual 
things of which the kingdom of God consisteth, ' even of 
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' 
And he whose mind is changed, and turned from darkness 
to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, is truly 
said to be born again ; because he is quickened with ano- 
ther kind of life than he had before ; and to be born of 
the Spirit of God, because it is by it that this new and 
spiritual life is wrought in him. So that he is now born 
into another world, even into the kingdom of God, where 
he hath God Himself, of whom he is born, for his Father, 
vol. n. 2 G 


and the kingdom of God for his portion and inheritance. 
And therefore it is, that except a man be thus born of the 
Spirit, it is inrpossible he should enter into the kingdom 
of God, seeing he can enter into it no other way, than by 
being born of the Spirit. 

" But thai we may thus be born of the Spirit, we must 
be born also of water, which our Saviour here puts in the 
first place. Not as if there was any such virtue in water, 
whereby it could regenerate us, but because this is the rite 
or ordinance appointed by Christ, wherein to regenerate 
us by His Holy Spirit. Our regeneration is wholly the 
act of the Spirit of Christ ; but there must be something 
done on our parts in order to it, and something that is 
instituted and ordained by Christ Himself: which in the 
Old Testament was circumcision; in the New, baptism, or 
washing with water : the easiest that could be invented, and 
the most proper to signify His cleansing and regenerat- 
ing us by His Holy Spirit. And seeing this is instituted 
by Christ Himself, as we cannot be born of water without 
the Spirit, neither can we, in an ordinary way, be born of 
the Spirit without water, used or applied in obedience 
and conformity to His institution. Christ hath joined 
them together, and it is not in our power to part them : 
he that would be bom of the Spirit, must be born of water 

"As baptizing necessarily implies the use. of water, so 
our being made thereby disciples of Christ, as necessarily 
implies our partaking of His Spirit : for all that are bap- 
tized, and so made the disciples of Christ, are thereby 
made the members of His Body ; and are therefore said 
to be baptized into Christ, (Rom. vi. 5. Gal. hi. 27.) But 
they who are in Christ, members of His Body, must needs 
partake of the Spirit that is in Him their Head. Neither 
doth the Spirit of Christ only follow upon, but certainly 
accompanies the Sacrament of Baptism, when duly ad- 
ministered according to His institution. For as St Paul 
saith, ' By one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body/ 


(1 Cor. xii. 13.) So that in the very act of baptism, the 
Spirit unites us unto Christ, and makes us members of 
His Body; and if of His Body, then of His Church and 
Kingdom, that being all His Body. And therefore all 
who are rightly baptized with water, being at the same 
time baptized also with the Holy Ghost, and so born of 
water and the Spirit, they are, ipso facto, admitted into 
the Kingdom of God, established upon earth, and if it 
be not their own fault, will as certainly attain to that 
which is in heaven." 

A little further on he says : — " This I would desire all 
here present to take special notice of, that you may not be 
deceived by a sort of people risen up among us, who being 
led, as they pretend, by the light within them, are fallen 
into such horrid darkness, and damnable heresies, that 
they have quite laid a-ide the Sacrament of Baptism, and 
affirm, in flat contradiction to our Saviour's words, that 
they may be saved without it. I pray God to open their 
eyes, that they may not g > blindfold into eternal damna- 
tion. And I advise you all, as you desire not to apostatize 
from the Christian religion, and as you tender your eter- 
nal salvation, take heed that you be never seduced by 
them, under any pretence whatsoever ; but rather, if you 
be acquainted with any of them, do what you can to turn 
them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto 
God again ; that they may obtain forgiveness of their 
sins, and inheritance among them who are sanctified 
by faith in Him who saith, ' Except a man be born of 
water,' &c. 

" Not only a man, in contradiction to a child, or a 
woman, but as it is in the original, Idv pn m, except any 
one, any human creature whatsoever, man, woman, or child, 
' except he be born of water," &c. ... So that our Lord is 
so far from excluding children from baptism, that He 
plainly includes them, speaking in such general terms, 
on purpose that we may know that no sort of people, old 
or young, can ever be saved without it. And so He doth 
too, where He commands, as was observed before, that 


'All nations should be made disciples by being baptized 
in the name of,' . . . . For, under all nations, children 
must needs be comprehended, which make a great, if not 
the greatest part of all nations. And although these 
general expressions be sufficient to demonstrate the neces- 
sity of infant baptism, yet foreseeing that ignorant and 
unlearned people would be apt to wrest the Scriptures 
to their own destruction, He elsewhere commands chil- 
dren particularly to be brought unto Him, saying, ' Suffer 
the little children,' &c. (Mark, x. 14.) But if the kingdom 
of God consist of children, as well as other people, they 
must of necessity be baptized, or born of water and the 
Spirit ; for otherwise, He Himself saith, * They cannot 
enter into the kingdom.' 

" Hence it is, that we find the apostles baptizing whole 
families, children, if any, as well as others : and the whole 
Catholic Church, in all places and ages ever since, hath 
constantly admitted the children of believing parents into 
the Church, by baptizing them according to the institution 
and command of our Saviour ; none ever making any 
question of it, but all Christians, all the world over, 
taking it for granted that it ought to be done, till of late 

On the third of January, 1660 — 1, he was ordained 
deacon by bishop Sanderson, and, on the thirty-first 
of the same month, was admitted into priest's orders. 
About the same time Dr Gilbert Sheldon, then bishop of 
London, collated him to the vicarage of Ealing, in the 
county of Middlesex. 

From his sermon " On Christ's presence with His 
Ministers," we gather his sentiments on the apostolical 
succession, and the sacred office to which he was now 

" In the first place I observe, how much we are all 
bound to acknowledge the goodness, to praise, magnify, 
and adore the Name of the Most High God, in that we 
were born and bred, and still live in a church, wherein the 
apostolical line hath, through all ages, been preserved 


entire ; there having been a constant succession of such 
bishops in it, as were truly and properly successors to the 
apostles, by virtue of that apostolical imposition of hands, 
which being begun by the apostles, hath been continued 
from one to another, ever since their time, down to ours. 
By which means the same Spirit which was breathed by our 
Lord into his apostles is, together with their office, trans- 
mitted to their lawful successors, the pastors and governors 
of our church at this time ; and acts, moves, and assists 
at the administration of the several parts of the apostolical 
office in our days, as much as ever. From whence it 
follows, that the means of grace which we now enjoy are 
in themselves as powerful and effectual as they were in 
the apostles' days, &c 

"And this, I verily believe, is the great reason why the 
devil has such a great spite at our church, still stirring 
up adversaries of all sorts against it, — papists on the one 
hand, and sectaries on the other, and all, if possible, to 
destroy it ; even because the Spirit which is ministered in 
it, is so contrary to his nature, and so destructive of his 
kingdom, that he can never expect to domineer and 
tyrannize over the people of the land, so long as such 
a church is settled among them, and they continue 
firm to it. . . . 

" As for schism, they certainly hazard their salvation at 
a strange rate, who separate themselves from such a 
church as ours is, wherein the apostolical succession, the 
root of all Christian communion, hath been so entirely 
preserved, and the word and sacraments are so effectually 
administered ; and all to go into such assemblies and 
meetings, as can have no pretence to the great promise in 
my text. (Matt, xxviii. 20.) For it is manifest, that this 
promise was made only to the apostles and their succes- 
sors to the end of the world. Whereas, in the private 
meetings, where their teachers have no apostolical or 
episcopal imposition of hands, they have no ground to 
succeed the apostles, nor by consequence any right to the 


Spirit which our Lord hath ; without which, although 
they preach their hearts out, I do not see what spiritual 
advantage can accrue to their hearers by it," &c 

At Ealing he remained for twelve years, and here he 
was able to pursue his studies while discharging with dili- 
gence his parochial duties. The result of his studies was 
apparent in 1669, in the appearance of his Institutionum 
Chronologicarum libri duo, una cum totidem Arithmetices 
Chronological Libellis. Although it was regarded by the 
author only as an elementary work, it has been made use 
of by subsequent chronologers, and was so well received 
at the time of its publication, that new editions were 
required in 1705, and in 1721. His great work ap- 
peared in 1672, entitled Zuvo&xov, sive Pandectse Canonum 
SS. Apostolorum et Conciliorum ab Ecclesia Graeca recep- 
torum ; nee non Canonicarum SS. Patrum Epistolarum ; 
una cum Schohis Antiquorum singulis eorum annexis, 
et Scriptis aliis hue spectantibus ; quorum plurima e 
Bibliothecae Bodleianse, aliarumque MSS. Codicibus nunc 
primum edita: reliqua cum iisdem MSS. summa Fide et 
Diligentia collata. Totum Opus, in duos Tomos divisum, 
Gulielmus Beveregius, Ecclesise Anglican® Presbyter, 
recensuit, Prolegomenis et Annotationibus auxit, 2 vols, 

The first volume contains the canons that have been 
assigned to the apostles, those of the two Nicene councils, 
of four Constantinopolitan councils, and of other Asiatic 
councils, together with the arguments and Arabic para- 
phrase of Joseph, surnamed the Egyptian, on the canons 
of the first four general councils ; the whole being prefaced 
by the learned editor's Prolegomena The second volume 
contains the canons of Dionysius and Peter, both of 
Alexandria; various monuments of oriental episcopacy; 
the Syntagma, or alphabetical index, compiled by Michael 
Blastaris ; the acts of the synod, which restored Photius 
to the patriarchate of Constantinople, and those of the 
eighth council held there. The work has Greek in one 


column, and a Latin translation in the other, and com- 
prises the Scholia of learned orientals on most of the 
canons, together with copious notes by Beveridge himself. 

The "Pandectae Canonum," as Mr Home observes, con- 
tinues to hold a distinguished place in public libraries, as 
a book of permanent authority and reference in all matters 
of controversy relative to the doctrines or discipline of the 
Christian Church. 

The publication of this great work appears to have 
excited considerable attention upon the Continent, where 
some of his opinions, relative to the date of the canons 
attributed to the apostles, were attacked in an anonymous 
tract, now known to have been written by Matthieu de 
Larroque, a minister of the French reformed church at 
Rouen; who, in 1674, published ' Observationes in Igna- 
tianas Pearsonii Vindicis, et in Adnotationes Beveridgii 
in Canones Apostolorum.' Rothomagi, 8vo. This called 
forth a reply from Dr Beveridge, intituled, ' Codex 
Canonum Ecclesiaa Primitives Vindicatus et Illustratue. 
Londini, 1697,' in 4to. 

In his notes on these canons, he had fixed their date 
to the end of the second, or beginning of the third 
century ; taking a middle course between the opinion of 
Francesco Turriano, who affirmed that they were all made 
by the apostles at the council of Jerusalem, and that of 
Jean Daille, an eminent minister of the French reformed 
church at Paris, who maintained they were the production 
of some anonymous writer, who forged these pretended 
apostolical canons before the end of the fifth century. 
The strictures of Beveridge on the hypothesis of Daille 
called forth the observations of Larroque, to whom the 
' Codex Canonum Primitivae Ecclesiae Vindicatus' is de- 
signed as a reply. The bishop has here re- asserted and 
vindicated the date which he had assigned to these 
canons, with much learning and ingenuity. The judg- 
ment, however, of the learned is not in unison with his 
Vindication. These pseudepigraphal canons are unques- 
tionably of great antiquity: but although they bear the 


name of the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are 
destitute of the external evidence necessary to support that 
claim, not having been quoted by any Christian writer of 
the first three centuries. 

From the Codex Canonum Eccles. Prim. Vindicatus ac 
illustratus we may gather Beveridge's church principles. 
" Seeing," he says " that no one doubts but that more 
confidence is to be placed in the whole body than in indi- 
vidual Christians, and more in the universal Church than 
in any particular churches whatsoever : seeing also that 
there are very many points in which the universal Church, 
during many ages after the apostles, agreed : seeing, finally, 
that this consent of the universal Church is the surest in- 
terpretation of holy Scripture on those points on which it 
may be had : it hence most clearly follows, of what and 
how" great use the andent fathers, and other writers of all 
ages of the Church, must be, and how necessary to be con- 
sulted by them, who, in the prosecution of ecclesiastical 
controversies, have at heart either their own salvation, or 
the peace of the Church. For, were there no commentaries 
of the ancient church, no acts of councils, no monuments 
of ecclesiastical history, extant at this day, in how great 
darkness should we be involved respecting our very reli- 
gion itself? How easy would it be for any subtle heretic, 
or even for any the most flagitious impostor, under the 
mask of piety, to deceive the generality, and to lead them 
into the most pernicious errors of every description ? 
Who could then convict the church of Rome, or any other, 
even the most corrupt communion, of fault or error, in 
those particulars which are not expressly prohibited in 
holy Scripture ? For whence could it be proved, whether 
those things which are in use in that church had, or had 
not, been handed down from the very apostles, and ap- 
proved by the consent of the universal Church ? Finally, 
how many and how great disadvantages of every kind 
would arise hence ? But there is no reason that we should 
occupy our time in the enumeration of these things, seeing 
that amidst so many and so great confusions of empires, 


convulsions of particular churches, and perturbation of all 
human affairs, it hath been so ordered by the most wise 
and merciful providence of Almighty G od, that from the 
veiy times of the apostles even unto these our own times, 
there is no age whose ecclesiastical memorials are not 
preserved to us. From which memorials accordingly we 
are enabled to conceive a perfect idea of the universal 
Church, and to feel assured and certain, what has through 
all ages been admitted and what rejected : what rites and 
doctrines have prevailed, what heresies and schisms have 
been disapproved and condemned. Finally, from these 
and these alone we may see, on what points of doctrine 
and discipline, agreement hath ever prevailed among all 
churches, and on what again, controversy hath existed 
between them, and consequently what is more, and what 
less, necessary to be believed and observed. For whatever 
is to be said of other things, those things at any rate in 
which all churches every where have agreed, cannot but 
be most certain, and necessary, even at this very time, to 
be retained of all." 

His view of our reformation also is admirable, on which 
subject he remarks, " When this our English church, 
through long communion with the Roman church, had 
contracted like stains with her, from which it was neces- 
sary that it should be cleansed, they who took that excel- 
lent and very necessary work in hand, fearing that they, 
like others, might rush from one extreme to the other, 
removed indeed those things, as well doctrines as ceremo- 
nies, which the Roman church had newly and insensibly 
superinduced, and, as was fit, abrogated them utterly. 
Yet notwithstanding, whatsoever things had been, at all 
times, believed and observed, by all churches, in all places, 
those things they most religiously took care not so to 
abolish with them. For they well knew, that all par- 
ticular churches are to be formed on the model of the 
universal Church, according to that general and received 
rule in ethics, ' every part which agreeth not with its 
whole is therein base.' Hence therefore these first re- 


formers of this particular church directed the whole line 
of that reformation, which they undertook, according to 
the rule of the whole or universal Church, casting away 
those things only which had been either unheard of, or 
rejected by, the universal Church, but most religiously 
retaining those which they saw, on the other side, corro- 
borated by the consent of the universal Church. Whence 
it hath been brought to pass, that although we have not 
communion with the Roman, nor with certain other par- 
ticular Churches, as at this day constituted, yet have we 
abiding communion with the universal and Catholic 
Church, of which evidently ours, as by the aid of God first 
constituted, and by his pity still preserved, is the perfect 
image and representation. 

" But, that we digress no further from our proposed 
object, when we are speaking of the universal Church, and 
its agreement, without any doubt, regard is to be had 
especially to the primitive church : inasmuch as, although 
it be only a part of the whole, yet is it universally agreed 
that it was the more pure and genuine part. For the 
same hath happened to the Church, which hath happened 
to each several commonwealth, namely, that, ancient 
customs passing by degrees into disuse, new institutions 
are devised by the wanton imaginations of men's minds, 
which very fault is above all other to be eschewed in 
religion. For it is agreed among all Christians, that the 
Apostolic Church as constituted by the apostles of our 
Lord in person, under the guidance of divine inspiration, 
and by them whilst yet living administered, was of all 
churches the purest and most perfect. Furthermore 
nothing seems more at variance with the common faith of 
Christians than that the doctrine or discipline instituted 
by the apostles, should have been corrupted or any way 
changed by their immediate successors. For all confess, 
that the apostles were most faithful men, and of conse- 
quence willed to ordain none as their successors, except 
those whose faith and integrity were fully approved by 
themselves . personally. Therefore the first successors of 


the apostles doubtless kept inviolate and uncorrupted the 
Church, whose government had been entrusted to them ; 
and in like manner handed it down to their own successors, 
and these again to others, and so on ; insomuch that there 
can exist no doubt, but that at least during two or three 
ages from the apostles the Church flourished in her primi- 
tive vigour, and, so to say, in her virgin estate, that is, in 
the same condition in which she had been left by the 
apostles themselves ; except that from time to time new 
heresies burst forth even in those days, by which the 
Church was indeed harassed, but in no way corrupted ; 
clearly no more than the church, strictly apostolic, was 
perverted by those errors, which arose whilst the apostles 
were yet living. For they had scarcely time to rise up, 
before they were rejected by the Catholic Church. Which 
things therefore notwithstanding, the universal Church 
which followed ever held that primitive church to be most 
pure, and, in refuting all heresies which afterwards arose, 
appealed to her as the rule of other churches. For if 
any one endeavoured to bring any thing new into the 
doctrine or discipline of the Church, those fathers who 
opposed themselves to him, whether individually or 
assembled together in a body, sought their arguments, as 
out of the holy Scriptures, so also out of the doctrines and 
traditions of the church of the first ages. For this is ob- 
servable in nearly all acts of councils, and commentaries 
of individual fathers, wherever, that is, ecclesiastical con- 
troversies are discussed. And indeed nothing still is 
more rational, nothing certainly more desirable, than 
that all particular churches at this day wherever consti- 
tuted, were reformed after the model of the primitive 
church. For this measure would immediately cast forth 
whatever corruptions have crept in during later ages, and 
would restore to their ancient original all things which 
are required for the true constitution of a Christian 

In November, 1672, Beveridge was instituted to the 
rectory of St Peter's, Cornhill, London, and resigned the 


vicarage of Ealing. In December, the year following, he 
was collated by bishop Henchman to the prebend of 
Chiswick, in St Paul's cathedral: in 1679 he took his DD 
degree; and in November, 1681, he was made archdeacon 
of Colchester, being collated thereto by bishop Compton. 

His conscientious mind, upon his appointment to so 
important a cure as that of St Peter's, withdrew from 
those learned labours which had hitherto been his delight, 
and he devoted himself exclusively, with primitive zeal 
and piety, to the duties of the pastoral office. His labours 
were incessant : he established weekly communions and 
daily service. It is not surprising that he should appoint 
weekly communions, as, in his "Private Thoughts," he 
thus states his faith with regard to the Holy Eucharist : 
" As Baptism thus comes in the place of the Jew's Cir- 
cumcision, so doth our Lord's Supper answer to their 
Passover. Their Paschal Lamb represented our Saviour 
Christ, and the sacrificing of it, the shedding of His 
Blood upon the cross ; and as the passover was the memo- 
rial of the Israelites' redemption from Egypt's bondage, 
(Ex. xii. 14.) so is the Lord's Supper the memorial of our 
redemption from the slavery of sin, and assertion into 
Christian liberty; or, rather, it is a solemn and lively 
representation of the death of Christ, and offering it again 
to God, as an atonement for sin, and reconciliation to His 

" So that I believe this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, 
under the gospel, succeeds to the right of sacrificing under 
the law, and is properly called the Christian Sacrifice, as 
representing the Sacrifice of Christ upon the cross." 

In another place, after referring to the sacrifices and 
offerings of the Jews, he remarks, " there were many such 
ways, whereby the people of God, in those days, were 
constantly put in mind of what the Saviour of the world 
was to do, and suffer for them. All which are now laid 
aside, and only this one Sacrament of His last supper, 
instituted by Himself, in the room of them. This is now 
our Christian shewbread, whereby we ' shew the Lord's 


death till He come.' This is our burnt-offering, our sin- 
offering, our trespass-offering, our thank-offering, our meat- 
offering, our drink-offering, and all the offerings required 
of us, whereby to commemorate our blessed Saviour, and 
what He hath done for us ; and, therefore, as the Jews 
were punctual and constant in observing all things pre- 
scribed to them, for the same end we certainly ought to 
do this as often as we can : this one thing, which answers 
the end of all their offerings, and yet hath neither the 
trouble, nor the charges, nor the difficulty of any one of 

His exhortations to his people to attend daily service 
were very urgent. He observes in his sermon " On the 
Advantage of Public Prayer," that " the more pleasing 
any duty is to God, the more profitable it is to those who 
do it. And therefore He having so often, both by word 
and deed, manifested Himself well-pleased with the public 
or common service which His people perform to Him, we 
cannot doubt but they always receive proportionable ad- 
vantage from it. The Jews call stated public prayers 
Stations; and have a saying among them, * That without 
such stations the world could not stand.' Be sure no 
people have any ground to expect public peace and tran- 
quillity, without praising and praying publicly unto Him, 
who alone can give it. But if all the people (suppose of 
this nation) should every day with one heart and mouth 
join together in our common supplications to Almighty 
God, how happy should we then be ? how free from dan- 
ger ? how safe and secure under His protection ? This is 
the argument which Christ Himself useth, why 'Men 
ought always to pray, and not to faint ;' in the parable of 
the unjust judge, who was at last prevailed with to grant 
a widow's request, merely by her importunity in asking it. 
' And shall not God,' saith He, ' avenge His own elect, 
which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long 
with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.' 
But then He adds, 'Nevertheless, when the Son of Man 

VOL. II 2 h 


coineth, shall He find faith on the earth ?' (Luke, xvii. 
7, 8.) As if He had said, God will most certainly avenge 
and protect those who cry day and night, morning and 
evening, to Him. But men will not believe this ; and that 
is the reason why there are so few who believe that He 
will hear their prayers, according to His promise. But 
blessed be God, though they be but few, there are some, 
who really believe God's Word, and accordingly pray 
every morning and evening, not only for themselves, but 
for the country where they live, for all their governors 
both in church and state, and for all sorts and conditions 
of men among us. To these the whole kingdom is be- 
holden for its support and preservation. If they should 
once fail, I know not what would become of us. But so 
long as there are pious and devout persons crying day and 
night to God for aid and defence against our enemies, we 
need not fear any hurt they can ever do us; at least 
according to God's ordinary course of dealing in the 

It is thus that the character of Beveridge as a parish 
priest is described by a contemporary : " How powerful 
and instructive was he in all his discourses from the 
pulpit ! How warm and affectionate in his private exhor- 
tations ! How orthodox in his doctrine ! How regular 
and uniform in the public worship of the church ! In a 
word, so zealous was he, and heavenly-minded, in all the 
spiritual exercises of his parochial function, and his 
labours were so remarkably crowned with blessing and 
success, that, as he himself was justly styled the great 
reviver and restorer of primitive piety, so his parish was 
deservedly proposed as the best model and pattern for its 
neighbours to copy after." 

Equally diligent he was as an archdeacon, visiting 
every parish in his archdeaconry. In the year 1684 he 
succeeded Dr Peter Du Moulin in a stall in Canterbury 
cathedral ; and some time between the following year and 
1688, he became associated with Dr Horneck in directing 
the religious societies which had begun to be formed in 


London, and which soon extended to different parts of the 
country. They were intended at first to stop the progress 
of popery by piety and prayer, although they were looked 
upon with jealousy by some among the ultra-protestants. 
Their object may be gathered from the principles upon 
which each society was conducted. The members of this 
society shall heartily endeavour, through God's grace, 

1. To be just in all their dealings, even to an exem- 
plary strictness. 

2. To pray many times every day; remembering our 
continual dependence upon God, both for spiritual and 
temporal things. 

3. To partake of the Lord's Supper at least once a 
month, if not prevented by a reasonable impediment. 

4. To practise the profoundest meekness and humility. 

5. To watch against censuring others. 

6. To accustom themselves to holy thoughts in all 

7. To be helpful one to another. 

8. To exercise tenderness, patience, and compassion, 
towards all men. 

9. To make reflections on themselves when they read 
the Holy Bible, or other good books, and when they hear 

10. To shun all foreseen occasions of evil ; as evil 
company, known temptations, &c. 

11. To think often on the different estates of the glori- 
fied and the damned in the unchangeable eternity to 
which we are hastening. 

12. To examine themselves every night, what good or 
evil they have done in the day past. 

13. To keep a private fast once a month (especially 
near their approach to the Lord's table), if at their own 
disposal; or to fast from some meals when they may 

14. To mortify the flesh, with its affections and lusts. 

15. To advance in heavenly-mindedness, and in all 


16. To shun spiritual pride, and the effects of it, as 
railing, anger, peevishness, and impatience of contradic- 
tion, and the like. 

17. To pray for the whole society in their private 

18. To read pious books often for their edification, but 
especially the Holy Bible : and herein particularly, 

Matt. v. vi. vii. Luke, xv. xvi. Rorn. xii. xiii. Eph. v. 
vi. 1 Thess. v. Rev. i. ii. iii. xxi. xxii. 

And in the Old Testament, Lev. xxvi. Deut. xxviii. 
Isa. liii. Ezek. xxxvi. 

19. To be continually mindful of the great obligation 
of this special profession of religion ; and to walk so cir- 
cumspectly, that none may be offended or discouraged 
from it by what they may see in them ; nor occasion given 
to any to speak reproachfully of it. 

20. To shun all manner of affectation and moroseness ; 
and be of a civil and obliging deportment to all men. 

Thus the object of these societies, in the direction of 
which Dr Beveridge held so conspicuous a place, was, first 
and principally, to promote edification and personal piety 
in their several members, for which purpose their rules 
appear to have been well calculated. They did not, how- 
ever, confine themselves to this single design, but endea- 
voured to promote piety in others in various ways. For 
this purpose they procured sermons to be preached every 
Sunday evening in many of the largest churches in the 
city, either by way of preparation for the Lord's Supper, 
or to engage communicants to a suitable holiness of life 
after partaking of that sacrament, which was also adminis- 
tered in many churches every Sunday. They further 
extended their charity to deserving objects in all parts of 
London and its suburbs ; and by the pecuniary collections 
which they procured to be made, many clergymen were 
maintained to read prayers in so many places, and at so 
many different hours, that devout persons might have that 
comfort at every hour of the day. Among other benefits 
which resulted from these religious associations, was the 


institution of societies for reformation of manners, and 
the establishment of the two venerable societies for Pro- 
moting Christian Knowledge at home as well as abroad, 
and for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts ; both of 
which subsist to this day with increasing activity and 

To the revolution of 1688 Dr Beveridge gave his 
adhesion. The question of submitting to the government 
de facto was a difficult one, and while some of the most 
orthodox of our divines declined the oath of allegiance 
to one whom they regarded as a usurper, carrying with 
them the reputation of devotedness to their spiritual duties 
and indifference to their secular interests ; others, like 
Dr Beveridge, as devoted and as disinterested, took a 
different view of their duty, and to escape the miseries of 
popery, acquiesced in the revolution when it had been 
effected. The latter underwent trials as well as the non- 
jurors : to generous minds it is grievous to have sordid 
motives attributed to them to account for their conduct, 
and to affectionate hearts the disruption of old friendships, 
occasioned by differences of opinion, is peculiarly painful. 
The temporary association with uncongenial spirits, also, 
must have been anything but agreeable ; and there are few 
who could have been less congenial to Dr Beveridge than 
such men as Tillotson and Burnet, with whom, up to a 
certain point, he was now compelled to act. The minds 
of men had been agitated by the political revolution, 
and their principles were shaken ; Tillotson and Burnet, 
therefore, thought this a fitting opportunity to revolu- 
tionize the Church, by the sacrifice of catholic practice, 
and the adoption of ultra-protestant principles, making 
the breach wider between the church of England and 
the church of Rome, and vainly hoping to conciliate 
the multitudinous sects of ultra-protestants. The desire 
was to retreat, as far as possible, from all positive, 
objective, and dogmatic theology, and to form a politic 
union between parties who could not be united by a bond 
2 2h 


of love, but might be united by a bond of common hatred, 
— the hatred of popery. It was attempted at first to carry 
this point by act of parliament ; but the church of England 
was not reduced as yet to its present state of degradation, 
nor would the majority of her bishops have consented to 
parliamentary legislation on that point. The non-jurors 
were strong in principle, and they would have been so 
increased in point of numbers, had parliament attempted 
to interfere with the internal arrangements of the Church, 
that the impolicy of such a proceeding would have been 
apparent, even if better principles had not prevailed in 
parliament itself. Parliament declined to interfere until 
convocation had been consulted : both houses presented 
an address to the king, praying, that " according to the 
ancient practice and usage of this kingdom in time of 
parliament, his majesty would be graciously pleased to 
issue forth his writs, as soon as conveniently might be, 
for calling a convocation of this kingdom, to be advised 
with in ecclesiastical matters." A sentiment of this 
nature, entertained so cordially by the house of commons, 
from which it emanated, was of course responded to by 
the clergy, and Tillotson yielded to the necessity of the 
case. To make all arrangements requisite for the convo- 
cation, a commission was issued on the 13th of September, 
1689, to ten bishops and twenty other divines, requiring 
" them to prepare such alterations of the liturgy and 
canons, and such proposals for the reformation of the 
ecclesiastical courts, and to consider such other matters as 
might most conduce to the good order and edification and 
unity of the church of England." The name of Beveridge 
appeared in the commission. By those who were the 
authors of the movement it was proposed that the follow- 
ing changes should be made : 

Chanting to be discontinued. 

Certain select psalms to be read on Sundays ; but the 
daily course not to be altered. 

The omission of the apocryphal lessons, and of some 
from the Old Testament. 


A rubric on the usefulness of the sign of the cross in 
baptism. The use of it to be omitted altogether when 

The sacramental elements to be administered in pews, 
to those who might object to kneeling. 

A rubric declaring that Lent fasts consisted in extra- 
ordinary acts of devotion, not in distinctions of meats ; 
and another to explain the meaning of the Ember 

The rubric enjoining the daily reading or hearing of 
common prayer on the clergy to be changed into an 

The Absolution to be read by deacons ; the word 
minister being substituted for priest; and the words 
" remission of sins" omitted as not very intelligible. 

The Gloria Patri not to be repeated at the end of 
every psalm. 

In the Te Deum, the words only begotten Son, substi- 
tuted for Thine honourable, true, and only Son. 

The 138th psalm to be substituted for the Benedicite ; 
and other psalms for the Benedictus and Nunc Dimittis. 

The versicles after the Lord's Prayer to be read 
kneeling ; and after the words " Give peace, &c," an 
answer promissory, on the part of the people, of keeping 
God's law: the old response being supposed by the 
commissioners to savour of too strong a view of predes- 

All titles of the king and queen to be omitted, and 
the word " Sovereign" only used. 

In the prayer for the king, the clause, " Grant that 
he may vanquish, &c," changed into, " Prosper all his 
righteous undertakings against Thy enemies." 

The words, " who worketh great marvels," changed 
into, " who alone art the author of all good gifts ;" and 
the words, " the holy Spirit of Thy grace," substituted 
for " the healthful Spirit of Thy grace." The reason 
assigned for the latter was this, that the word healthful 
was obsolete. 


The prayer, " God, whose nature and property," 
to be omitted, as full of strange and impertinent ex- 

The collects to be revised by the bishop of Chichester. 

If a minister refused the surplice, and the people 
desired it, the bishop to be at liberty to appoint another, 
providing the living would bear it. 

Sponsors to be disused, and children to be presented 
in the name of their parents, if desired. 

A rubric to declare, that the curses in the Athanasian 
Creed are confined to those who deny the substance of 
the Christian religion. 

Certain alterations to be made in the Litany, the Com- 
munion Service, and the Canons. 

Many other verbal alterations were suggested, and 
several things were left to the care of Tenison. 

Such were the alterations proposed, and it is surpris- 
ing, as well as satisfactory, to find that much would now 
be freely tolerated even by ultra-protestants, which the 
liberal churchmen of the revolution were prepared to 
concede. The convocation assembled, and Dr Beveridge 
was appointed to preach the Concio ad elerum ; when he 
hesitated not to take the opportunity of declaring against 
any concessions or alterations. His whole discourse, 
grounded on the text, 1 Cor. xi. 16, " If any man seem 
to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the 
churches of God," is an able argument to this effect. 

The convocation met in the month of December, 
and the business that first engaged their attention, the 
appointment of a prolocutor in the lower house, fur- 
nished a favourable opportunity for trying the strength 
of the two contending parties, and bringing all their 
differences, whether ecclesiastical or civil, to an issue. 
The court party proposed Dr Tillotson as their candidate. 
The candidate of the opposite party was Dr Jane, dean of 
Gloucester, and regius professor of divinity at Oxford, 
who was known to be a divine of great reading and 
resolution. He was elected by a large majority; and when 


the bishops sent down an address acknowledging the 
protection his majesty had afforded to religion in general, 
and especially to their own established form of it, but so 
expressed as to include the church of England under the 
general title of protestant churches, the lower house re- 
quired the expression to be altered, on the avowed 
principle that they disowned all communion with foreign 
protestants. The case was too manifest to be misunder- 
stood : and the king readily adopted the only alternative 
remaining to him, of discontinuing the session. 

The independent conduct of Dr Beveridge did not at 
once alienate from him the revolutionary court. Among 
the more eminent of the clergy, most of those who held 
sound church principles had been driven from their 
posts, and the administration of the church was now for 
the most part in the hands of men prepared for political 
purposes to sacrifice every church principle. Dr Beveridge, 
therefore, was not to be overlooked by the revolutionary 
government : an attempt was still made to bribe him to 
the Dutch interest. In 1690 he was nominated chaplain 
to the revolutionary royal family, and in 1691 he was 
offered the bishopric of Bath and Wells. It was a diffi- 
cult point to settle whether he could conscientiously accept 
the offer : he was in a novel position in which he had no 
precedents to guide him. He had consented to the revo- 
lution, as several other sound churchmen did, but the see 
of Bath and Wells was not vacant. The great and good 
Dr Ken had not been canonically deprived, neither had 
he tendered his resignation. Could he be considered as 
virtually resigning the bishopric by not taking the oaths, 
as king James II. was regarded as having virtually abdi- 
cated the throne when he fled the kingdom ? It may be 
easy, in the opinion of some, to answer the question now, 
but it was very different to those who were in the midst 
of the conflict. Beveridge consulted archbishop Sancroft, 
but Sancroft, angry with him for having consented to the 
revolution, gave him a sarcastic rather than a satisfactory 


answer ; but Dr Beveridge, after weighing all the circum- 
stances of the case, at the end of three weeks refused to 
accept a bishopric which was not canonically vacant. He 
acted nobly. He did not violate his conscience to please 
those with whom he was politically acting, and who must 
have plied him with arguments to justify such conduct as 
they themselves adopted : the non-jurors only despised 
him for not going further, and he met with no sympathy 
from them. But he pursued his own course ; while he 
submitted to the government, he would not sanction an 
unjust and uncanonical proceeding, nor would he usurp 
the office or eat the bread of another. William and his 
government were now exasperated against him, and deter- 
mined that he should receive no other preferment from 
them. He continued for thirteen years in his honourable 
office of parish priest, complacent, doubtless, in the happy 
thought that he had sacrificed wealth and high station to 
sound church principles, and though he was misunder- 
stood by the two extremes, the integrity of his heart was 
known to the God whom he loved and served. He did 
not relax in his laborious duties, but discharged them 
with an assiduity best evinced by the general success 
which attended his ministry. 

In 1701 — 2, Dr Beveridge was proposed as prolocutor 
of the lower house of convocation by the whigs, who shewed 
their wisdom in selecting a man so moderate in his poli- 
tical, while he was so decided in his church, principles ; 
but the intrigues of Atterbury procured the election of Dr 
Woodward, dean of Sarum. Beveridge was advanced in 
years before he had another offer of a bishopric. He was 
consecrated on the 6th of July, 1704, having been elected 
to the see of St Asaph. With his usual conscientious 
diligence he commenced his new duties, and shewed that 
age had not weakened his faculties. A parish priest him- 
self, he knew how to sympathize with parish priests, and 
immediately addressed himself, as chief pastor, to a subject 
bearing upon the welfare equally of the clergy and laity. 


He addressed a letter to his clergy, in which he recom- 
mended to them the duty of catechising ; and in order to 
enable them to do this the more effectually, he, in the 
course of the same year, sent them a plain and easy expla- 
nation of the catechism of the church of England. How 
readily would the clergy give heed to the bishop who could 
appeal to his own practice, to prove the practical wisdom 
of his advice ; how gratefully would they accept the assist- 
ance which he offered to enable the least experience to 
act upon his suggestion. The introductory paragraph of 
his address to his clergy affords a pleasing evidence of the 
deep view which bishop Beveridge took of his high and 
responsible office. 

" Brethren, beloved in the Lord, 

As God our Saviour, the head of the whole Church, 
which He hath purchased with His blood, hath been 
pleased to call me, the unworthiest of His servants, to 
take care of that part of it which He hath planted in the 
diocese to which you belong ; so I verily believe and 
expect that He will ere long call me to give Him an account 
how I have discharged the trust, and performed the duty, 
which He hath laid upon me. The consideration whereof 
hath made me very solicitous and thoughtful what to do, 
and how I may behave myself in this place and station, 
so that I may appear before Him at that day with joy, 
and not with shame and grief." 

In the subsequent part of this address he earnestly and 
affectionately presses the duty of frequent and public 
catechising ; and in conclusion, tells his clergy, that 
11 having spent some thoughts about catechising in general, 
so as to attain the end of it in the way that is here pro- 
posed ; and having accordingly drawn up a short explica- 
tion of the catechism which our Church hath set forth, 
he thought good to present them with it, as a testimony 
of his readiness to contribute what he can towards the 
laying the foundation in some, as well as to the building 
up others, of the diocese in our most holy faith." 


Nor did the good bishop forget his duties as a peer of 
the realm : he attended in the house of lords as often as 
the duties of his bishopric would permit him ; on every 
occasion evincing himself a steady defender of the rights 
and privileges of the Church. He foresaw the danger 
which threatened true religion, by the union of England 
and Scotland, and he steadily opposed a measure by which 
the interests of the Church were sacrificed to political 
expediency, and a permanency given to the presbyterian 
establishment. He appeared in the house of lords for the 
last time on the 20th of January, 1707-8, and died on 
the following 5th of March. 

Among the charitable bequests of this Anglican saint, 
he left £20 a year to the curate of Mount Sorrel, and the 
vicarage of Barrow, on condition that prayers should be 
offered every day morning and evening in the chapel and 
parish church respectively ; together with the sum of forty 
shillings to be divided equally at Christmas-eve among 
such poor housekeepers of Barrow, as the minister and 
churchwardens should agree, regard being especially had 
to those u'ho had most constantly attended the daily prayers 
and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper the preceding year. 
We presume that this bequest is enjoyed, and these duties 
performed, at the present time. He left his library in 
trust to his wife's nephew, Dr William Stanley, to be 
placed in the cathedral church of St Paul, as the founda- 
tion of a library for the benefit of the clergy of the city of 
London. To the society for Propagating the Gospel in 
Foreign Parts he gave the sum of £100. He had been 
married, but of his wife nothing is known, except that she 
died before him without issue. 

With the exception of a few occasional sermons, 
and the catechism explained, bishop Beveridge never 
published any English works. But large quantities of 
his manuscripts were printed by his executor after his 
death. These posthumous works consist of sermons, 
Thesaurus Theologicus, Private Thoughts, Treatises on 
the Necessity and Advantages of Public Prayer, and of 


Frequent Communion ; a defence of Sternhold and Hop- 
kin's version of the Book of Psalms ; and an exposition 
of the Thirty-nine Articles. All these, together with the 
English works published by the bishop himself, were col- 
lected by the Rev Thomas Hartwell Home, in 1 8-2-4, in 
9 vols, 8vo, with a memoir of the author. They have 
since been republished in the library of Anglo-Catholic 
Theology. Considered as works never intended for pub- 
lication, it is marvellous that their blemishes are so few. 
There are, as we have observed,' in his works, occasional 
tinges of those opinions which were rife in his younger 
years, but his mind was too essentially practical to enter- 
tain calvinistic notions ; and he was too entirely in earnest 
in teaching positive truth, and providing real food for his 
flock, to spend his time and waste his energies in the bare 
contradiction of error. His labours earned for him the 
title of " The Restorer and Recoverer of Primitive Piety," 
and doubtless are not lost among us. He speaks of the 
church of England in high and glowing language, and 
sought to " establish and make Jerusalem a praise in the 
earth." He contemplated her as a true branch of the 
Church catholic, and sought to bring out her primitive 
and catholic character, by acting up to her acknowledged 
rales, by supplying a constant round of daily services and 
frequent communions, exercising a more vigorous disci- 
pline, and awakening her members to a higher and holier 
estimation of the 'ministration and ordinances of the 
Church. He was accused by heretics of " making many 
things necessary which Scripture speaks not one word of:" 
and one of his calumniators observes, " that though the 
bishop may have been far enough from popery, yet there 
are some things in him which are agreeable to it." 

Beveridge's Works with Home's Memoir. Preface to the 
edition of the works in the Library of Anglo- Catholic 
Theology. CardweWs Conferences. 

Beverley, John of, in Latin, Johaxes Beveelactis, 
vol. II. 2 I 


was born of a noble family among the Anglo-Saxons, at 
Harpham, a small town in Northumberland. He was a pupil 
of Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, and it is said that 
he himself became the instructor of the venerable Bede ; 
but Mabillon thinks that the tutor of Bede was another 
John of Beverley. He became first a monk, and then abbot, 
of St Hilda. He soon rose in favour with Alfred, king 
of Northumberland, who, in the year 685, gave him the 
see of Hagustald or Hexham, and in 687, translated him 
to that of York. In 704 this prelate founded a college 
at Beverley, for secular priests, which was afterwards 
endowed with very considerable immunities. Among 
other privileges, it had that of asylum, or sanctuary, for 
debtors, and persons suspected of capital crimes. Within 
it stood a chair of stone with this inscription : " Hsec 
sedes lapidea freedstool dicitur, i. e. Pacis Cathedra, ad 
quam reus fugiendo perveniens omnimodam habet securi- 
tatem." That is, " this stone seat, is called freedstool, i. e. 
the chair of peace, to which what criminal soever flies has 
full protection." After he had governed the see of York 
thirty-four years, he divested himself of his episcopal cha- 
racter, and retired to Beverley ; and four years after died 
in the odour of sanctity, on the 7th of May, 7 31. About 
the middle of the 16th century, says Mr Camden, (m the 
year 1564,) upon opening a grave, they met with a vault 
of squared free-stone, fifteen feet long, and two feet broad 
at the head, but at the feet a foot ancfa half broad. With- 
in it was a sheet of lead four feet long, and in that the 
ashes, and six beads, (whereof three crumbled to dust 
with a touch, and of three remaining, two were supposed 
to be cornelian) with three great brass pins, and four large 
iron nails. Upon the sheet lay a leaden plate, with a 
Latin inscription to the following purpose. In the year 
of our Lord 1188, this church was burnt in the month of 
September, on the night following the feast of St Matthew 
the apostle ; and in the year 1197, on the 6th of the Ides 
of March, enquiry was made after the relics of St John 

BEZA. 373 

in this place, and these bones were found in the east part 
of the sepulchre, and were buried here, and there also 
dust mixed with mortar was found and buried. The day 
of his death was appointed a festival by a synod held at 
London, in 1416. Bede, and other writers, ascribe several 
miracles to John of Beverley. Between three and four 
hundred years after his death, his body was taken up by 
Alfric, archbishop of York, and placed in a shrine richly 
adorned with silver, gold, and precious stones. We are 
told that William the Conqueror, when he ravaged 
Northumberland with a numerous army, spared Beverley 
alone, out of a religious veneration for St John of that 
place. This prelate wrote some pieces, which are men- 
tioned by Bale and Pitts. Pro Luca exponenda. Homi- 
liae in Evangelia. Epistolae ad Hildam Abbatissam. 
Epistolse ad Herebaldum, Andenum et Bertinum. — Bede. 
Stubbs. Godwin. Camden. 

Beza, Theodore de, was born at Vezelai, on the 24th 
of June, 1519. He was sent to Paris at an early period 
of life, and placed under the protection of an uncle who 
was abbot of Froidmond. In 15*28 he was sent to Orleans 
as a pupil to Melchior Wolmar, a distinguished scholar, 
addicted to the reformation ; and when Wolmar, through 
the interest of the queen of Navarre, was appointed Greek 
professor at Bourges, he was followed thither by his pupil 
Beza, who remained under his tuition for six years. In 
1539 Beza took the degree of licentiate in law at Orleans ; 
after which he returned to Paris. Under the guidance of 
Wolmar, Beza's genius had been duly cultivated, and he 
was distinguished in all the branches of elegant literature 
and philosophy : but for some reason or other, his morals 
were not attended to by the protestant professor, for at 
Paris he became so wild and dissipated, that the name of 
Beza was first known to fame as the author of some clever, 
but very licentious, poems. Of this publication, he, of 
course, repented deeply in after life, and an ungenerous 
use was made of it by his opponents, who ought to have 

376 BEZA. 

remembered that at this very time he became practically 
acquainted with the abuses existing in the Church, and of 
the absolute need there was of a reformation. The licen- 
tious young man was supported by the revenues of the 
priory of Longjumeau, and of another benefice, without 
being in orders, and, as intellectually he was inclined to 
the reformation, most probably without intention of taking 
them. The privilege of commendam was indeed, as 
Mr Smedley observes, one of the most fruitful sources of 
disorder at this time in the Church. In the earlier 
Christian church, whenever a hostile irruption, a famine, 
or any other public calamity, had so far diminished the 
revenues of an episcopal see, or a religious house, as to 
render them insufficient for the support of its ordinary 
head, the metropolitan recommended the pastoral charge 
to some neighbouring ecclesiastic, who accepted the addi- 
tional burden gratuitously, till a more favourable season 
permitted a re-establishment of the suspended dignity. 
It is easy to perceive how this charitable custom, at first 
so praiseworthy, degenerated in times less pure into 
abuse. The chief revenues of the cardinals, whom the 
duties of the sacred college detained in permanent abode 
at Rome, were at first derived from prebends or other 
benefices without cure of souls ; but ambition and avarice 
gradually fostered the desire of exalted station and over- 
flowing coffers, and by the perversion of commendams, 
the richest sees were often accumulated in plurality upon 
ecclesiastics by whom they could never be visited. The 
convenient license thus assumed by the court of Rome 
was not likely to be long unimitated by secular princes ; 
and, in France, the wealthiest benefices were abundantly 
showered down upon those, whose connexion with the 
blood royal, or whose cabinet duties as ministers of state, 
attached them to the court ; even women were admitted 
as Eveques Laiz, and either sold their bishoprics or pro- 
vided substitutes, or Custodines as they were termed, to 
perform the clerical offices for the least possible stipend. 
Similar abuses prevailed among the inferior clergy ; and 

BEZA. 377 

dispensations were so readily accorded, that, unless in 
rare instances, the population at large lived either without 
any pastors at all, or with curates unworthy of the name. 
Religion, therefore, was sought for in vain, and its place 
was usurped by ignorance and superstition. 

Although Beza was thus enabled to expend the revenues 
of the Church in riotous living, a considerable fortune, to 
which he succeeded on the death of an elder brother, made 
him independent of outward circumstances, and enabled 
him without inconvenience to quit the Gallican church, 
when he determined to act on a resolution most probably 
formed in the school-room of Melchior Wolmar, and of 
which he was reminded by a serious illness. He had long 
promised his mistress, Claudia Denosse, with whom he had 
lived for four years, to marry her ; but continually deferred 
the fulfilment of his promise, as it would have vacated his 
ecclesiastical preferments. His conscience having been 
pricked in his illness, he perceived that he must resign 
either his mistress or his livings : he generously deter- 
mined on the latter course, and his mistress became his 
wife. No impediment now existing, he determined to 
declare himself on the side of the reformation, and having 
been married at Geneva, on the 24th of October, 1548, 
he went to Tubingen to visit his old tutor Melchior 
Wolmar. He then settled as Greek professor at Lau- 
sanne, where he remained for ten years, and amused his 
leisure moments by the publication of a tragi-comedy, 
Le Sacrifice d'Abraham. 

He now came under the influence of the master mind 
of Calvin, to whom he frequently paid homage during his 
vacations, and who immediately availed himself of the 
poetical powers of his disciple. The calvinistic system has 
rejected all the ancient forms of religion, but to it is to 
be traced the origin of congregational psalmody. This 
important part of Genevan worship was supplied from 
France. Clement Marot, says Mr Smedley, who held a 
post about the royal household of France, had hitherto 
•2 i2 

878 BEZA. 

dedicated his facile powers of elegant versification to sub- 
jects always light, frequently licentious. Notwithstanding 
the freedom both of his life and writings, he early em- 
braced the reformed religion ; was imprisoned for heresy 
during the captivity of Francis I in Madrid, and twice 
afterwards compelled to take refuge in Geneva to escape 
similar arrest. It was about the year 1540 that, renounc- 
ing his former themes, he put forth a metrical French 
version of the first fifty psalms ; and in the dedication to 
Francis I, after drawing a parallel between that king 
and David, which, it may be thought, must have cost him 
no slight struggle with conscience to compose, he very 
strikingly exhibited the grotesque mixture of ethnical 
and Christian images, at that time present to his fancy. 
God, he says, was the Apollo who tuned David's harp ; the 
Holy Spirit was his Calliope ; his two-forked Parnassus 
was the summit of the crystalline heaven ; and his Hippo- 
crene was the deep fountain of grace. But, alas ! the vein 
of Marot flowed quite diversely from that of the Hebrew 
poet-king, and when he ceased to sing of earthly love he 
ceased also to sing melodiously. The model which he 
furnished was faithfully copied, not many years after- 
wards, by the framers of our English psalmody ; and the 
merits of the French bard may be accurately estimated, 
when we add, that, in his devotional strains, Marot was the 
Apollo, the Calliope, the Parnassus, and the Hippocrene 
of Sternhold and Hopkins. Nevertheless, bald as was 
Marot's version, it was the work of a popular court-poet; 
it was in rhyme easily adapted to the vaudevilles and 
ballad-tunes of the day ; and the translator, perhaps, was 
not a little surprised to hear every chamber of the palace, 
and every street in Paris, re-echoing with his sacred 
songs, frequently accompanied by the fiddle, soon after 
their publication. As no attempt was made to introduce 
them into the ritual of the Church, the Sorbonne approved 
their orthodoxy, and thus unwittingly gave additional 
keenness to a weapon soon to be turned against them- 

BEZA. 379 

Calvin had banished the ancient ecclesiastical music, 
and it is probable that he soon perceived the neces- 
sity of a substitute, which might impart some warmth 
to the general frigidity of his service. Marot's version 
appeared most seasonably for his purpose. It was so 
plain and prosaic that every peasant might easily un- 
derstand, and commit it to memory. All resemllance 
to the catholic antiphonal chant, which Calvin rejected 
as superstitious and unedifying, was carefully avoided, 
by setting the words to simple and monotonous tunes, 
equally removed from science and from sweetness, but 
in which every individual of the congregation might 
take a part. Beza completed the task which Marot had 
begun ; their joint psalms were appended to the cate- 
chism of Geneva; passed from the lips of the gallants of 
France to those of the herdsmen of Switzerland and the 
citizens of Flanders ; became one of the distinguishing 
characters of Calvinism ; and called down a severe inter- 
dict from the faculty of Paris, by which they had not long 
since been as formally sanctioned. 

It is curious thus to trace congregational psalmody to 
two poets who were distinguished less by their merit than 
by the licentiousness of their profane poetry. 

In 1556, Beza published his Latin version of the Xew 
Testament, of which there were several subsequent 
editions ; but the most celebrated of the works which 
appeared in his name, during his residence at Lau- 
sanne, was his tract De Haereticis a civili Magistratu 
Puniendis, which was intended to vindicate the charac- 
ter of his friend Calvin against Sebastian Castalio, who 
had published a work soon after the cruel persecution 
of Servetus, October 17, 1553, under the title of Quo 
Jure, quove Fructu, Haeretiei gladio puniendi. Castalio 
had in this work advanced some of the leading argu- 
ments in favour of toleration, and Beza appears as the 
advocate for persecution; indeed the right to persecute 
seems never to have been renounced by the early re- 
formers. According to Dupin, he attempts to prove these 

380 BEZA. 

three things : First, That heretics ought to be punished. 
Secondly, That the punishment of them belongs to the 
secular magistrate. Thirdly, That one may condemn them 
to death. These maxims were attacked by several writers, 
and the principle on which Beza supported them, is, that 
a citizen ought to be an honest man, that those who oppose 
the true religion are villains, and that therefore the magis- 
trates ought to condemn them. He confesses one ought 
not to punish those who offend more out of simplicity than 
malice ; but maintains this general thesis, that heretics 
are to be put to death, and particularly those who deny 
the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the mystery of the Tri- 
nity. He considers the arguments which are commonly 
alleged for toleration, which with him amount to the 
number of twelve. Those who maintained the contrary 
affirmed, that the cognizance of religious affairs did not 
belong to the magistrates. Beza confutes them, but this 
is a problem which it was impossible for the ultra- 
protestants to answer : — if you have a right of punishing 
those men with death, whom you believe to be heretics, 
why have not the catholic princes the same against you ? 
you give them arms against yourselves, if Calvin and 
Beza had been wise, they would not have authorized 
maxims which in the end turned so much to their own 

In 1558, Beza was employed with Fazel and Jean Bude, 
to solicit the protestant princes of Germany to use their 
intercession with the king of France in favour of the 
French protestants, and in this journey he became person- 
ally acquainted with Melancthon. On his return he was 
persuaded by Calvin to apply for his release from the senate 
of Berne and to settle at Geneva ; with this request the 
senate of Berne reluctantly complied, and he was present- 
ed with his freedom as a citizen of Geneva in the month 
of April, 1559; in the following month he was admitted 
one of the pastors, and iu June he was appointed profes- 
sor of theology and principal or rector of the academy 
which had been recently founded there. The last situa- 

BEZA. 381 

tion was refused by Calvin, and at his suggestion it was 
offered to Beza, by whose learning and genius he was 
deeply impressed. Calvin had in Beza from this time 
a devoted admirer, disciple, and friend. 

We next find him employed in converting to Calvinism 
Anthony king of Navarre, the father of Henry IV. The 
prince of Conde and the king of Navarre himself applied to 
the council of Geneva to spare him, and invited him to 
the royal residence at Xerac in Guienne. The genius and 
eloquence of Beza soon made Calvinism popular, and, 
abetted by the queen of Navarre, over whom he obtained 
unbounded influence, he succeeded in the year 1560 in 
destroying many monasteries and churches belonging to 
the establishment. 

The celebrated colloquy at Poissy was held in the year 
1561, before Charles IX, the queen mother, Catherine 
de Medicis, and the rest of the French court, between 
the ecclesiastics of the Gallican church and the calvinistic 
ministers. At this colloquy Beza was distinguished by 
the readiness of his wit, the flow of his eloquence, and the 
badness of his logic. Beza was the spokesman chosen by 
the Huguenot ministers, and was the chief manager on 
their side. 

Xotwithstanding the attempts to come to an under- 
standing with the Huguenots on the part of the Gallican 
divines, the colloquy at Poissy, and the subsequent con 
ferences, were brought to no satisfactory conclusion. But 
Beza did not return immediately to Geneva, for when he 
waited upon the queen mother, to take leave, she claimed 
him as a Frenchman, and entreated that he would not 
abandon his native country, while the slightest opening 
seemed to remain for a mitigation of religious hostility. 
His consent was the more readily obtained by the willing- 
ness which the queen at the same time expressed not to 
oppose any obstacle against the performance of calvinistic 
worship in Paris : which was celebrated accordingly, 
wholly without disguise, by large congregations. 

382 BEZA. 

The condition of France was at this time miserably 
distracted. Some awful collisions between the Catholics 
and Huguenots occurred, and many were the intrigues on 
either side to win over the leaders of the opposite party, 
who, with religion for the pretext, were too often influ- 
enced by personal motives. Beza profited by the edict of 
January, 1562, and preached often in the suburbs of 
Paris ; but he was once more summoned to a more con- 
spicuous arena, and greatly distinguished himself at the 
conference in the council chamber at St Germain, where 
the ecclesiastics of the church of France were again assem- 
bled by the queen mother, to dispute with the Huguenot 
ministers on the use of images. Beza spoke on the first 
day for two hours, and the controversy, as Mr Smedley 
remarks, was conducted with some playfulness and good 
humour : the latter was a desirable object, but playfulness 
is scarcely to be praised on so solemn an occasion. The 
Romanists were far from agreeing among themselves. 
Despence, Boutillier, Picherel and Salignac, altogether 
abandoned the defence of representations of the Trinity, 
and of any of the three Persons of the Godhead ; and 
Beza has most graphically described the distress of the 
unhappy cardinal de Tournon, when he perceived the 
tendency of their speeches^ The president, he says, as 
Salignac went on, first groaned inwardly, then grumbled 
openly, next rose from his chair and walked to the fire- 
place, and at last fairly buried himself out of sight 
in the farthest corner of the room. Montluc supported 
the same opinions " magnificently," founding his argu- 
ments on Scripture and on the fathers, and maintaining 
his position by correct and powerful reasoning. He com- 
plained also of a personal grievance inflicted upon himself 
by the Sorbonne. It seems that the faculty, without due 
respect to his episcopal character, had condemned a book 
written by him for the use of his clergy in the diocese of 
Valence, and containing sound and Christian doctrine ; 
while at the same moment it had authorized a very stupid 
and silly rhyming volume, by one Arthur Desire, which, 

BEZA. 383 

among other evil matters had thus falsified the second 
commandment in doggrel : — 

" Thou shalt make a graven Image, 

At your choice of every kind, 
Honour it and pay it homage, 

God in that great joy shall find." 

The bishop of Valence, and the four doctors who agreed 
with him, then drew up a paper, founded on the above 
admissions ; and expressing their willingness to consent 
to the removal of all sculptures and paintings of the 
Trinity, as prohibited by Scripture, by councils, and by 
many personages of sound wisdom and saintly life. They 
condemned also the unseemly and licentious carved work 
which often profaned ecclesiastical buildings, and the 
representations of the legends of those saints, both male 
and female, whom the Church rejected as apochryphal. 
They were content to abolish the adoration, salutation, 
osculation, investment, and coronation of images ; the 
offering of vows to them, and the processions in which 
they were carried about, whether through the streets or 
in churches. The other divines admitted that there 
might be a few abuses which demanded reform, but stoutly 
supported the necessity of retaining images altogether. 

Beza in consequence presented a long written address 
to the queen, in which his main argument was founded 
upon the second commandment, unlawfully retrenched from 
the decalogue by the church of Rome, as he proved on the 
authority of the fathers. He protested against any mis- 
interpretation, which might represent him as condemning 
painting and sculpture in general. They were innocent 
and even necessary arts, when not employed in opposition 
to religion and conscience ; but the danger of their minis- 
tering to idolatry had been discovered not only in the time 
of the writers of the Old Testament, and in the first three 
centuries of the Church, but also by the wisest legislators 
and moralists of paganism. Witness Numa and the 
Lacedemonians among the former; Varro, Horace, and 

384 BEZA. 

Persius among the latter. He then critically examined 
the word idol, which some had wished to restrict to images 
of the heathen gods ; and he proved by reference to 
Euripides, Homer, and Virgil, (if in agitating sacred 
themes he might be permitted to name such profane poets) 
that u^ojXov, ehcwv, lyolufix,, imago and simulacrum, were alto- 
gether synonymous. These philological niceties, he con- 
tinued, are little however to the purpose. God's prohibition 
of idolatry is universal ; and if images be worshipped, 
whether by pagans or by Christians, they are worshipped 
alike in direct violation of the Divine Law. It is idle to 
urge that the prohibition delivered in the Old Testament 
relates solely to the Jews, and, as a part of their ceremo- 
nial law, is abolished together with the rest of it : those 
who argue thus should be prepared at the same time to 
prove that idolatry was a sinful tendency peculiar to the 
Hebrew nation ; whereas, in point of fact, it is a vice 
which besets human nature itself. In a word, the com- 
mandment was delivered for all men and for all seasons, 
and St Augustine has well said that so far as it is concerned, 
we are now the Jews. The cherubim on the ark of the 
covenant have been cited as an exception, and they are so. 
But they were fashioned after an express injunction from 
God ; and can the church of Rome produce any similar 
injunction for any of its images ? moreover, the ark of the 
covenant was deposited in the sanctuary, remote from the 
general eye, and therefore not exposed to the abuse of 
adoration. No worship was paid by the Jews either to 
the sanctuary or to the altar, any more than to the fire 
which blazed, or to the victim which burned on the latter; 
and the romanist who affirms otherwise may be accused 
on similar grounds, and by borrowing his own argument, 
of worshipping the Pig of St Anthony, the Horse of St 
Martin, and the Devil of St Michael, with no less fervent 
devotion than that which he offers to the images of those 
saints themselves. 

In reply to the customary argument that honour is not 
directed to the image but to that which the image repre- 

BEZA. 385 

sents, Beza triumphantly inquired (and the inquiry has 
never yet been answered) why then is any local superiority 
admitted ? Why is one image considered more holy and 
more potent than another ? Why are pilgrimages made 
to distant images, when there are others, perhaps of far 
better workmanship, near at hand ? Again, is it tolerable 
that in a Christian church an image of the Virgin Mary 
should be addressed in terms appropriate solely to the 
Almighty Father, " omnibus es omnia !" If the Virgin 
were yet alive and on earth, how would the humility and 
lowliness of heart, which she ever so conspicuously evinced, 
be shocked by the hourly impious appeals to her supposed 
maternal authority over her blessed Son ; " Boga Pat rem. 
jube Natum /" " Jure Matris impera /" Then, adverting 
to the reputed miracles performed by images, he contended 
that by the evidence of judicial inquiries, most of them 
had been indisputably proved impostures : and even with 
regard to such as remained undetected, it was detracting 
honour from God, the sole author of miracles, to attribute 
any hidden virtue or mystic efficacy to wood or stone. 
Passing on to a review of the long controversy about 
images maintained in the Greek church, he concluded by 
affirming that not less idolatry might be occasioned by 
crucifixes than by images themselves ; and the only part 
of this memorial, distinguished as it is by acuteness of 
argument and soundness of learning, in which we per- 
ceive any approach to special pleading, is a somewhat too 
subtle distinction which it attempts to establish between 
the sign of the cross and a material crucifix. The pro- 
positions appended to this document were that images 
should be altogether abolished : or if that measure were 
thought too sweeping, that the king would consent to the 
removal of all representations of the Trinity or its separate 
Personages ; of all images which were indecorous, as for 
the most part were those of the Virgin ; of such as were 
profane, as those of beasts and many others, produced by 
the fantastic humours of artists ; of all publicly exhibited 

VOL. II 2 K 

386 BEZA. 

in the streets, or so placed at altars that they might 
receive superstitious veneration ; that no offerings or 
pilgrimages should be made to them ; and finally, that 
crucifixes also should be removed, so that the only repre- 
sentation of the passion of our Lord might be that 
lively portrait engraved on our hearts by the word of Holy 

If the suggestions of Montluc and his party, so accord- 
ant with the propositions of Beza, had been admitted by 
the general body of the Gallican church, this conference 
seemed to promise a nearer approach to union than any of 
its predecessors ; and it must be admitted that the conces- 
sions to which the moderate Romanists inclined, were 
sufficiently ample. But the opinions of those inveterately 
hostile to all reform ultimately prevailed, and the only 
result of the discussion, says Beza, was that each party 
abided by its own opinion. 

Beza had converted the king of Navarre so far as to 
make him a partizan of Calvinism ; but the royal convert 
remained as profligate when a calvinist, as he had been 
when he professed Catholicism, and the court soon found 
means to bring him back once more to the established 
church. His hostility to Beza was shewn at an audience 
Beza had with the queen mother, when deputed by the 
Huguenot ministers to lay their complaint before her, 
with reference to the violations which had occurred of the 
edict of January, to which allusion has been made before. 
The king of Navarre, sternly regarding Beza, accused 
the Huguenots of now attending worship with arms, 
Beza replied, that arms, when borne by men of discretion, 
were the surest guarantee of peace ; and that since the 
transactions at Vassy, (where a fracas had taken place 
between the retainers of the duke of Guise, and a Hugue- 
not congregation, the duke's people being the aggressors) 
their adoption had become necessary till the church should 
receive surer protection; a protection which he humbly 
requested, in the name of those brethren who had hitherto 

BEZA. 382 

placed so great dependence on his majesty. The cardinal 
of Ferrara here interrupted him by some incorrect repre- 
sentation of the tumult at St Medard; but he was silenced 
by Beza, who spoke of those occurrences as an eye-witness, 
and then reverted to the menacing advance of the duke of 
Guise upon Paris. The king of Navarre declared with 
warmth, that whoever should touch the little finger of 
" his brother," the duke of Guise, might as well presume 
to touch the whole of his own body. Beza replied with 
gentleness, but with dignity: he implored the king of 
Navarre to listen patiently, reminded him of their long 
intercourse, and of the special invitation from his majesty 
in consequence of which he had returned to France in the 
hope of assisting in its pacification. " Sire," he con- 
cluded in memorable words, " it belongs, in truth, to the 
church of God, in the name of which I address you, to 
suffer blows, not to strike them. But at the same time let 
it be your pleasure to remember that the Church is an 


Well would it have been if Beza and his partizans had 
always remembered this, and instead of taking up arms to 
defend their cause, had maintained it like the primitive 
Christians by patient suffering. Perhaps they would then 
have led to the gradual reformation of the church of 
France, whereas now they took the sword, and perished 
by the sword. Each party armed. And the question 
was, which was the stronger, each being prepared, on ob- 
taining the ascendency, to persecute the other. We are 
not to suppose that the Huguenots were greater friends to 
toleration than the Catholics, for in a synod assembled on 
the 9th of March, 1563, at which seventy-two protestant 
ministers attended, they demanded that the king should 
declare himself Protector and Conservator of the confes- 
sion of faith presented to him in 1561 ; and then they 
pointed out, according to Mr Smedley, " the strong 
necessity of rigorous punishment being directed against 
all heretics and schismatics, whom they stigmatized by 
the names of Atheists, Libertines, Anabaptists, and 

388 BEZA. 

It is not necessary to enter into a detailed account of 
the bloody and atrocious actions of which the protestants 
were guilty in seeking to gain the ascendency ; or of the 
equally bloody, and in the event, more atrocious retalia- 
tions of the Catholics. On either side there was an 
incarnate fiend. The enormities of Blaise de Montluc 
disgraced the Catholic cause ; while the protestant cause 
was equally disgraced by the cruelties of the Baron Des 
Andrets. With the leaders of the protestants Beza acted, 
and he was kept by the prince of Conde near his person ; 
but the leaders, for the most part, abstained from encou- 
raging the cruelties of their followers, although they ex- 
cited the people to rise up in arms against the government 
Beza continued with the insurgents, following the prince 
of Conde in all his marches, cheering him by his letters 
when in prison, and reanimating the Huguenots in their 
defeats, until his career as a herald of war was terminated 
by the battle of Dreux. At that battle, fought on the 
19th of December, 1502, in which the Huguenots were 
defeated, Beza was present ; but he did not engage in the 
battle, he was merely at hand to advise his friends. 

In the following February, the duke of Guise, the 
lieutenant-general of the kingdom, was assassinated before 
Orleans by a protestant named Poltrot. When the 
assassin was seized and examined before the queen and 
council, he accused Beza, among other leading Huguenots, 
and declared him to have been privy to his design. Beza 
declared that, notwithstanding the great and general in- 
dignation aroused against the duke of Guise on account 
of the massacre at Vassy, he had never entertained an 
opinion that he should be proceeded against otherwise 
than by the methods of ordinary justice ; for the attain- 
ment of which purpose he had assisted with other deputies 
from the protestant congregations in presenting a memorial 
to the queen and the late king of Navarre. He admitted 
that since the duke had commenced the war, he had ex- 
horted the protestants both by letters and sermons to use 
their arms ; but he had at the same time inculcated the 

BEZA. 389 

utmost possible moderation, and had instructed them to 
seek peace above all things next to the honour of God ; 
taking heed that they were not deceived. Moreover, that 
since he esteemed the duke of Guise to be the principal 
author and fosterer of these troubles, he had numberless 
times prayed God that He would either change the duke's 
heart, (of which indeed he never entertained any hope) or 
else that He would deliver the kingdom from his tyranny : 
but that he had never held communication either by him- 
self or by any other, with Poltrot, with whom indeed he 
was wholly unacquainted. In the act committed by that 
person, however, he recognised the just judgment of God, 
menacing similar or yet greater punishments to all the 
confederated enemies of His holy gospel, who are the 
occasion of so many miseries and calamities to France. 
Then, commenting on some particular phrases which 
Poltrot had attributed to him, he expressed a willingness 
to rest his defence singly upon their manifest falsehood ; 
for, God be thanked! he was not so ill instructed in his 
duty as to misapply scripture by exhorting one who de- 
signed to commit murder, to " take up his cross even as 
his Saviour had taken it up ;" and much less did it accord 
with the doctrine which he professed, to promise any man 
paradise as a reward for his works. 

After the peace of 1563, Beza returned to Geneva, and 
resumed his functions of professor and pastor. On 
Calvin's death, in 1564, he became virtually the head of 
presbyte nanism, and sought to interfere in the religious 
affairs of every nation. Indignant at the manner in which 
Beza abetted the puritans of England in their schism, 
Bancroft, archbishop of Canterbury, remarked that " he 
wished a man would read the epistles of Leo, sometime 
bishop of Rome, and compare them with one of Beza's, to 
consider whether took more upon them, Leo, where he 
might command, or Beza, where there was no reason why 
he should at all have intermeddled." 

Beza did not return to France till 1568, when he 
2 k-2 

390 BEZA. 

epaired to Vezelai on some family business. He visited 
his native country again to attend and preside over a 
Huguenot synod, which assembled at La Rochelle, in 

Never had any Huguenot ecclesiastical meeting been 
attended by so many distinguished personages as graced 
this synod. " There were present," says the report of its 
acts, " Joane, by the grace of God, queen of Navarre ; the 
high and mighty prince Henry, prince of Navarre : the 
high and mighty prince Henry de Bourbon, prince of 
Conde : the most illustrious prince Louis, count of 
Nassau ; sir Gasper count de Coligny, the admiral of 
France, and divers other lords and gentlemen, besides the 
deputies who were members of the Church of God." A 
proposition made by the admiral is distinguished by its 
gentleness and charity ; — that no person when first 
reported to the consistory for impropriety of behaviour 
should be mentioned by name till his miscarriage had 
been proved. The queen of Navarre was warned in some- 
what imperious language, " not to sell her vacant offices, 
especially those of judicature ; nor to bestow them upon 
the recommendation of another, without her personal 
knowledge of their qualifications and abilities who are to 
discharge them ;" and to a question which she proposed 
she received an answer manifesting that the protestants 
were animated by a decided spirit of exclusiveness. 
" The queen of Navarre demanded our advice whether 
through want of others she might with a good conscience 
receive and establish Roman Catholic officers in her 
dominions, as also in her court and family. To which 
the synod humbly replied, that her majesty should take 
special heed about her domestic officers, and as much 
as possible employ persons fearing God, and of the re- 
formed religion ; and that she should cause the papists 
who are peaceable, and of unblameable lives, to be in- 
structed, and that she should utterly discard those traitors, 
who forsook her in her necessities, and cruelly persecuted 
God's saints in these last troubles." 

BEZA. 391 

At this assembly the Huguenot confession of faith was 
confirmed, and two copies of it were taken, one of which 
was deposited at Rochelle, the other in the archives of 

After the execrable massacre of St Bartholomew ; s-eve, 
Beza honourably exerted himself to support those of the 
French whom the fear of death drove from their native 
land ; he interested in their behalf the princes of Ger- 
many. He also founded a French hospital at Geneva. 

In 1572 he assisted at an assembly of the Huguenots 
at Xismes, where he opposed John Morrel, who desired to 
introduce a new discipline. The prince of Conde caused 
him to come to him at Strasburg in the year 1574, to 
send him to prince John Casimer, administrator of the 
palatinate. In 1586 he was employed in the conference 
of ^lembelliard, against John Andreas, a divine of Tubin- 
gen. Beza desired that the dispute should be managed 
syllogistically ; but he was obliged to yield to the desires 
of his adversaries, who refused to be confined to syllo- 
gisms. In this dispute, as in so many others, each party- 
boasted of having won the victory. 

In 1588, she who had lived with him, first as his 
mistress, and then as his wife, for forty years, paid the 
debt of nature, and Beza consoled himself before the 
end of the year by marrying Catherine de la Plane, a 
widow lady. He was now seventy years of age, and his 
enemies applied to the septuagenarian the amorous love- 
songs which first rendered his name popular, and of which 
in his maturer years he was ashamed. For the wife of his 
youth his affections seem to have grown cold ; for her 
death did not deter him from attending the synod which 
about that time the calvinists of Berne had assembled. 
His admirers have recorded with pleasure the care which 
his new wife took of him ; and of his own gratitude we 
have the proof in the fact that he left her all that he 
possessed at Geneva, where he died on the 13th of Octo- 
ber, 1605, in his 87th year. 

In the affairs of the church of England Beza, as we 

392 BEZA. 

have before seen, had the presumption to interfere ; and, as 
he had acted as a rebel in France, he encouraged insubor- 
dination in this country. The puritans consulted him, 
and, according to Strype, they craved his advice in two 
things : 

I. By what means the queen and bishops might be ad- 
monished of their duty ? 

II. What they might do in this juncture with a good 
conscience ? 

Beza seriously deliberating with himself, and knowing 
the queen had no great esteem for the church of Geneva, 
and that she and the bishops had an honourable respect 
for that of Zurich, resolved to write to Bullinger, the chief 
pastor there, and to give him an account of the state of 
the church of England, and to excite him earnestly to 
send Gu alter into the said kingdom to the queen and the 
bishops, to intercede in the behalf of the refusers, and to 
persuade to some further reformation in the church. And 
this he thought would happen very seasonably, a parlia- 
ment being at hand, w T herein matters of the church would 
be transacted. So he wrote a private letter to the said Bul- 
linger, wherein he told him, How the miserable brethren 
craved the counsel, comfort, and prayers of those churches, 
by whose charity they were once relieved, and hoped 
again to be so. He confessed that some of them were 
somewhat morose : but in such miseries, he said, it was 
hard to keep due bounds ; and since their aim was good, 
his opinion was, that their importunity was to be excused. 
That by the accounts of the ecclesiastical affairs of Eng- 
land, as he further told father Bullinger, popery was not 
cast out of England, but rather transferred to the queen's 
majesty: and that nothing else was drove at, than that 
what had been lately taken away, might be by little and 
little restored again. He thought, he said, that the busi- 
ness had been about caps, and such external matters ; but 
that the controversy was much different, he afterwards 
understood, and that with exceeding trouble and sorrow 
of mind. That when the outward calling, the examina- 

BEZA. 393 

tion of doctrine and manners preceding, done not by any 
one person, but the whole company of the brethren, was 
as it were the basis and foundation of the ecclesiastical 
ministry, what was baser and more irregular, than that 
liberty the bishops took, to ordain at their own pleasure, 
not those that were called, but those that came of their 
own accord ? And presently, without any place appointed 
them, they approved them fit either to serve, as they 
called it, or to teach. And at length they called whom 
they pleased, and set them over what churches they 
pleased, giving them a certain instrument for a price, and 
interposing an oath for two things, viz. that they should 
acknowledge the queen's majesty for the supreme head of 
the Church next under Christ, and that they would follow 
the laws of the kingdom, and especially the book of the 
reformation [meaning the liturgy] and all the rites, and 
to disallow of nothing therein, 

As for ecclesiastical discipline, that it was not other- 
wise than was in the papacy ; that in the place of a pres- 
bytery lawfully chosen, they had their deans, chancellors, 
archdeacons, officials, who, according to their wills, and as 
it useth to be in the civil courts, pronounced excommuni- 
cation jure canonico, even for pleas of money and such 
like. Which sentence the bishop, or his official, sent to 
the minister to be read in the church ; and this to hold 
valid, until they come and agree with the judge. And 
the same course was taken in absolving as in excommuni- 
cating. How little were they distant from the law of 
celibacy, who might not marry wives without the express 
letters of the queen, and the assent of the bishop, and 
two other justices of the peace ? And being married, they 
were forbid to bring their wives into colleges, or within 
the bounds of the cathedral churches, as though they 
were unclean. That not only the revenues of the benefices 
were left to papists, but the ecclesiastical offices them- 
selves, yielding only an oath to observe the reformation. 
Insomuch that the godly brethren were placed under 
many unlearned priests, and such as were most bitter 

394 BEZA. 

enemies in their heart to religion, and were forced to be 
subject to their jurisdiction. That in the archbishop's 
court were publicly set to sale dispensations for non-resi- 
dence, pluralities of benefices, choice of meats, marrying 
out of the appointed times, for a child to hold a benefice, 
and other things of that nature ; than which Rome itself 
had not any thing more filthy and unworthy. That bap- 
tism by women was allowed of in case of necessity. That 
of those few that were pure preachers of the gospel, some 
were put out of their livings, some thrust into prisons, 
unless they would promise to approve of all these, and 
'not to gainsay them in word or writing, and resembled 
the priests of Baal, by wearing square caps, tippets, sur- 
plices, and the like. Nor was this all, but that whatsoever 
hereafter the queen, or the archbishop alone, pleased to 
appoint, change, or take away in the rites of the church, 
should be holden firm and good. This, he said, was 
the state of this church, which to him was miserable and 

"His judgment was, that though God alone could cure 
this evil, yet that some trial should be made, rather than 
it should be endured that such a building should by 
suffered insolence fall down. That as for their church of 
Geneva, he left him to judge how it was hated by the 
queen, in that she had never by the least word signified 
that his present to her of his annotations was acceptable. 
That the cause of her hatred was twofold. One was, that 
they were esteemed too severe and rigid, which especially 
displeased, he said, such as were afraid of being rebuked. 
The other, that heretofore, while queen Mary lived, two 
books were published at Geneva, yet without their know- 
ledge ; one against the government of women, by Mr Knox ; 
the other of the right of the magistracy, by Mr Gudman. 
But when they knew what was contained in both these 
books, the French church was displeased at them, and 
accordingly they were forbid to be exposed to sale. But 
the queen nevertheless cherished her conceived ill opinion. 
And that their church therefore was not fit to send either 

BEZA. 395 

messenger or letter to the queen, for the regulation of 
these disorders. But he did earnestly desire, that some 
might be sent from Zurich ; for that theirs was the church 
alone, by whose authority both the queen and the bishops 
did seem to be moved. And therefore that by the 
authority of the magistrate, or at least by their permission 
and connivance, somebody might be chose out of their 
congregation, who should go into England for this very 
cause, and sue to the queen and bishops for a remedy 
against all these evils. That this would be a truly 
heroical fact, worthy of their city, and highly grateful to 
God. That they had a good way through France to Dieppe 
by a land journey, which they might despatch in eleven 
days ; and from Dieppe into England, with a good wind, 
in ten hours : and that in their way they might salute and 
confirm many French churches, and take one or two of 
the learneder of those churches with them. And finally, 
he pitched upon Rodulf Gualter, in all respects, as the 
fittest to manage and despatch this matter. So that he 
might seem to be one sent thither by God's own voice, to 
refresh the poor brethren, and to preserve the kingdom. 
Or at least, if they declined this, to send their letter at 
large both to the queen and bishops, to admonish thern 
to their duty. And he doubted not but a message so 
godly and charitable would be well taken both by the 
queen and the godly bishops at least ; who, he heard, 
with the lord keeper, sought for a fit occasion to move for 
a redress of these things." 

In a letter to Dr Grindal, when bishop of London, he 
also expresses himself with equal freedom and ignorance 
" concerning the religious contentions on foot in England, 
having heard by certain letters sent hence both into France 
and Germany, concerning divers ministers discharged 
their parishes, otherwise men of good lives and learning, 
by the queen, the bishops also consenting, because they 
refused to subscribe to certain new rites: and that the 
sum of the queen's commands were, to admit again not 
only those garments, the signs of Baal's priests in popery, 

396 BEZA. 

but also certain rites, which also were degenerated into the 
worst superstitions ; as the signing with the cross, kneeling 
in the communion, and such like : and, which was still 
worse, that women should baptize, and that the queen 
should have a power of superinducing other rites, and 
that all power should be given to the bishop alone in 
ordering the matters of the church ; and no power, not so 
much as of complaining, to remain to the pastor of each 
church. Thus it seems the noncompliers had represented 
the present condition of our church to those abroad. That 
learned divine, (as he signified to our bishop,) upon these 
reports, wrote back to his friends, that the queen's ma- 
jesty, and many of the learned and religious bishops, had 
promised far better things; and that a great many of 
these matters were, at least as it seemed to him, feigned 
by some evil-meaning men, and wrested some other way : 
but withal he beseeched the bishop, that they two might 
confer a little together concerning these things. He knew, 
as he went on, there was a twofold opinion concerning the 
restoration of the church : first, of some who thought no- 
thing ought to be added to the apostolical simplicity ; and 
so, that without exception whatsoever the apos les did, 
ought to be done by us ; and whatsoever the Church, that 
succeeded the apostles, added to the first rites, were to be 
abolished at once : that on the other side there were some, 
who were of opinion, that certain ancient rites besides 
ought to be retained ; partly as profitable and necessary, 
partly, if not necessary, yet to be tolerated for concord 
sake. Then did the aforesaid reverend man proceed to 
shew at large, why he himself was of opinion with the 
former sort : and in fine, he said, that he had not yet 
learned by what right (whether one looks into Gods word 
or the ancient canons) either the civil magistrate of him- 
self might superinduce any new rites upon the churches 
already constituted, or abrogate ancient ones ; or that it 
was lawful for bishops to appoint any new thing without 
the judgment and will of their presbytery. This letter 
was written the 5th of the calends of July ; that is, June 
the 27th, 1566." 

BIDDLE. 397 

Several other passages might be produced to shew that 
in Beza's opinion the reformation of the church of Eng- 
land was in principle very different from calvinistic refor- 
mation, and that in the opinion of the calvinists popery 
still adhered to us. The church of Elizabeth's reign was 
regarded by the pope of the calvinistic reformation, as 
popish; what would he have thought of the English church 
as it is now, the subsequent reformations in the reigns 
of James I, and Charles II, having restored many ancient 
and catholic practices ? But a reformed church, as ours 
is, preserving the via media, must expect to be regarded 
as ultra-protestant by papists, and as popish by ultra- 

Besides the works already named, Beza published a 
Latin treatise, de Divortiis et Repudiis against Ochinus, 
who had written in favour of polygamy; Histoire Ecclesi- 
astique des Eglises Beformees du Royaume de France 
depuis Tan 1521, jusquea 1563, in 1580; and in the 
same year Icones Illustrium Virorum. In 1588 was pub- 
lished a translation of the Bible by the calvinists of 
Geneva, in which he had a considerable share. — Histoire 
Ecclesiastique. Smedley's Reformed Religion in France. 
Bayle. Strypes Annals and Life of Grinded. 

Biddle, John. This unfortunate person was the 
founder of that sect of heretics in England who de- 
nominate themselves Unitarians, but are generally known 
as Socinians. He was born in 1615, at Wotton-under- 
Edge, in Gloucestershire ; and was educated at the free- 
school in that town, where he was patronized by George, 
lord Berkeley, who allowed him an exhibition of ten 
pounds a year. In 1634 he was sent to the university of 
Oxford, and was entered at Magdalen hall. On the 23rd 
of June, 1638, he took the degree of bachelor of arts, and 
soon after was invited to be master of the school of his 
native place, but declined it. In 1641, he took his 
degree of master of arts, and the magistrates of Gloucester 

VOL. II. 2 L 

398 BIDDLE. 

having chosen him master of the free-school of St Mary 
de Crypt in that city, he settled there, and was much 
esteemed for his diligence and learning. By no one was 
his sincerity in the search of truth ever impeached ; and 
he was so diligent a student of the New Testament that, 
with the exception of a few chapters in the Apocalypse, he 
learnt the whole by heart both in English and Greek. 
But his sincerity in acting upon a principle he had re- 
ceived, added to the acuteness of his intellect, led him 
into errors, from which persons either less honest or with 
Wss ability, though receiving the same principle, have 
happily escaped. He had been taught to despise the 
authority of the Church, and to receive the Bible, and the 
Bible only for his religion, relying for the interpretation 
of the Bible upon his private judgment. " He gave," 
says Mr Toulmin, "the holy Scriptures a diligent reading, 
and made use of no other rule to determine controversies 
about religion than the Scriptures ; and of no other 
authentic interpreter, if a scruple arose concerning the 
sense of the Scriptures, than reason" He was bold and 
presumptuous in judging of others, for the same biogra- 
pher informs us, that he " carefully examined the fathers, 
to ascertain their sentiments concerning the one God;" 
but that he had a low opinion of their judgment, or 
of the weight of their testimony, which he used merely 
as an argumentum ad hominem. He thus thoroughly 
embraced the ultra- protestant principle, and as the author 
of his life informs us, consistently acted upon it. "Having 
laid aside the impediments of prejudice, he gave himself 
liberty to try all things, that he might hold fast that 
which is good. Thus diligently reading the holy Scrip- 
tures (for Socinian books he had read none) he perceived 
the common doctrine concerning the Holy Trinity was not 
well grounded in revelation, much less in reason, and 
being as generous in speaking as free in judging, he 
did, as occasion offered, discover his reason of questioning 


Thus was Biddle brought to conclusions which shocked 
the piety of those who, admitting in theory his principle, 
had, nevertheless, received the truth by tradition, and 
maintained it vigorously. He was accused of heresy. 
His accusers held, as he did, that the Bible, and the 
Bible only, interpreted according to the view adopted by 
their private judgment, is the religion of protestants, and 
yet they accused Biddle of heresy, as if his private judg- 
ment were not as good as that of his opponents. If they 
had accused him of bad logic, their course would have 
been intelligible ; but by heresy is meant any other inter- 
pretation of the Bible than that which has been adopted 
by the catholic Church on points upon which the catholic 
Church, through general councils, has spoken. By a 
Catholic he must be regarded as a heretic ; by an ultra- 
protestant only as mistaken, even if mistaken. 

The unfortunate Biddle, being summoned before the 
magistrates, exhibited in writing a confession which was 
not thought satisfactory ; so that he was obliged to exhibit 
another more explicit than the former, in order to avoid 
imprisonment with which he was threatened. 

But in acting thus he acted disingenuously, for he 
retained his heretical opinions, and becoming more con- 
firmed in them by a closer study of the Bible only, he 
drew up " twelve arguments on questions drawn out of 
the Scripture, wherein the commonly-received opinion 
touching the Deity of the Holy Spirit is clearly and fully 
refuted." This was his first publication. It was origin- 
ally drawn up with the intention of printing it privately ; 
but a professed friend having informed the magistrates, 
and also the parliamentary committee (then in the town i 
of this project, the unfortunate author, though suffering 
under a fever, was committed to the common gaol, till 
parliament should take cognizance of the matter (Dec. 2, 
1045.) He was soon after released upon bail, and in 1640 
received a visit from archbishop Usher, who was passing 
through Gloucester on his way to London; but all the 

400 BIDDLE. 

efforts of that great scholar to convince him of his error 
were unavailing. 

The archbishop, indeed, referred to the authority of the 
Church, but to this Biddle as an ultra-protestant could not 
defer, he adhered to the Bible, and the Bible only ; and as 
to the interpretation of it, his own intei-pretation was of 
equal value with that of any councils or fathers. Edwards, 
in his Gangrsena, describes the interview, informing us 
that the archbishop, " coming through Gloucester, spake 
with him, and used him with all fairness and pity, as well 
as strength of arguments, to convince him of his danger- 
ous error. A minister of the city of Gloucester told me, 
the bishop laboured to convince him, telling him that 
either he was in a damnable error, or else the whole 
Church of Christ, who had in all ages worshipped the 
Holy Ghost, had been guilty of idolatry ; but the man was 
no whit moved either by the learning, gravity, piety, or 
zeal of the good bishop, but continued obstinate !" 

Six months after he had been set at liberty he was sum- 
moned to appear at Westminster, and the parliament ap- 
pointed a committee to examine him ; before whom he freely 
confessed, that he did not acknowledge the commonly 
received notion of the divinity of the Holy Ghost; but that he 
was nevertheless ready to hear what could be urged against 
him, and if he could not maintain his opinion he would 
honestly confess his error. But being wearied with tedi- 
ous and expensive delays, he wrote a letter to sir Henry 
Vane, a member of the committee, requesting him either 
to procure his discharge, or to make a report of his 
case to the house of commons. The result of this was his 
being committed to the custody of one of their officers, 
which restraint continued for five years. He was at 
length referred to the assembly of divines then sitting at 
Westminster, before whom he often appeared, and gave 
them in writing his twelve arguments, which were pub- 
lished the same year. Upon their publication he was 
summoned to appear at the bar of the house of commons ; 

BIDDLE. 401 

where being asked, whether he owned this treatise, and 
the opinions therein, he answered in the affirmative. 
Upon this he was committed to prison, and the house 
ordered, on the 6th of Septernber, 1647, that the book 
should be called in and burnt by the hangman, and the 
author be examined by the committee of plundered minis- 
ters ; and it was accordingly burnt the 8th of the same 
month. But Mr Biddle drew a greater storm upon him- 
self by two tracts he published in the year 1648, "A con- 
fession of faith touching the Holy Trinity according to 
the Scripture ; and the testimonies of Irenaeus, Justin 
Martyr, Tertullian, Novatianus, Theophilus, Origen. As 
also of Arnobius, Lactantius, Eusebius, Hilary, and 
Brightman ; concerning the one God, and the Persons of 
the Holy Trinity, together with observations on the same." 
As soon as they were published the assembly of divines 
solicited the parliament, and procured an ordinance, in- 
flicting death upon those that held opinions contrary to 
the received doctrine concerning the Trinity, and severe 
penalties on those who differed in lesser matters. These 
persons, it will be remembered, were ultra-protestants 
and dissenters : men professing liberality. And these 
are the men whom the enemies of the Church hold up 
to the public as models, while they represent Laud, and 
the churchmen of his day, as tyrants. The Romish 
persecutors under Gardiner and Bonner are justly held 
up to execration, by the most enlightened even among 
the Romanists ; but in what, so far as intention was con- 
cerned, did they differ from these dissenting divines, who 
would punish with death all who drew conclusions from 
Scripture different from their own deductions, but accord- 
ing to their own principles ? That the fires of persecution 
did not rage so furiously is to be attributed, not to the 
generous feelings of the Westminster divines, but to the 
fact that there had taken place a change in the spirit of 
the age ; and while men were ready to persecute, they 
were not prepared to subject themselves to such a tribunal 

402 BIDDLE. 

as this ultra-protestant Inquisition would have been. 
The ordinance, dated May 2, 1648, declared all such 
persons guilty of felony, as should "willingly, by preach- 
ing, teaching, printing, or writing, maintain and publish, 
that there is no God, or that God is not present in all 
places, doth not know and foreknow all things, or that He 
is not almighty, that He is not perfectly holy, or that He 
is not eternal, or that the Father is not God, the Son is 
not God, and the Holy Ghost is not God, or that they 
Three are not one eternal God : or that shall in like man- 
ner maintain and publish, that Christ is not God, equal 
with the Father ; or shall deny the Manhood of Christ, 
or that the Manhood or Godhead of Christ are several 
natures, or that the Humanity of Christ is not pure and 
unspotted of all sin ; or that shall maintain and publish, 
as aforesaid, that Christ did not die, nor rise from the 
dead, nor is ascended into heaven bodily ; or that shall 
deny His death is meritorious in the behalf of believers ; 
or that shall maintain and publish, as aforesaid, that 
Jesus Christ is not the Son of God ; or that the Holy 
Scripture, of the Old and New Testament, is not the word 
of God ; or that the bodies of men, after they are dead, 
shall not rise again ; or that there is no day of judgment 
after death. All such persons, upon complaint and proof 
made of the same, before any two of the next justices of 
the peace for that place or county, by the oaths of two 
witnesses, or confession of the party ; the said party so 
accused shall be by the said justices committed to prison 
without bail or mainprise, until the next gaol-delivery, 
and the witnesses bound over to give their evidence at 
the said gaol- delivery ; at which time the party shall be 
indicted for felonious publishing and maintaining such 
error. And in case the indictment be found, and the 
party upon his trial shall not abjure his said error, and 
defence and maintenance of the same, he shall suffer the 
pains of death, as in case of felony, without benefit of 
clergy ; but in case he shall recant, he shall nevertheless 

BIDDLE. 403 

remain in prison, until he finds two sureties to be bound 
with him, before two or more justices of the peace, that 
he shall not thenceforth publish or maintain the said 
errors any more, and the justices shall have power to take 
bail. And if any person indicted formerly for maintain- 
ing and publishing erroneous opinions, shall again publish 
and maintain the same, he shall suffer death, as in case of 
felony, without benefit of clergy." 

The ordinance further enjoins, that all persons who 
should publish or maintain, " That all men shall be 
saved; or that man by nature hath free-will to turn t<> 
God ; or that God may be worshipped in or by pictures 
or images : or that the soul of any man after death goeth 
to purgatory ; or that revelations, or the workings of the 
Spirit, are a rule of faith or Christian life, though diverse 
from, or contrary to, the written word of God ; or that 
man is bound to believe no more than by his reason he 
can comprehend ; or that the moral law of God, contained 
in the Ten Commandments, is no rule of Christian life : 
or that a believer need not repent, or pray for pardon of 
sins : or that the two Sacraments are not commanded by 
the word of God, or are unlawful ; or that the churches of 
England are no true churches, nor their ministers and 
ordinances true ministers and ordinances ; or that the 
church government by presbytery is unchristian or un- 
lawful ; or that all use of arms, though for the public 
defence, (and be the cause never so just) is unlawful : — 
that all persons, who should publish or maintain any 
of the said errors, and be convicted thereof, should be 
ordered to renounce them in the public congregation of 
the same parish from whence the complaint comes, or 
where the offence was committed. And in case of refusal, 
to be committed to prison by two of the next justices, 
until he find two sufficient sureties, that he shall not 
maintain or publish the said errors any more." 

This ordinance was published in 1648, 4to, and is 
preserved in the Introduction prefixed to an edition of 
Fr. Cheynells Chillingworthi Xovissima; the author of 

404 BIDDLE. 

which Introduction justly observes, that though " the 
presbyterians were possessed of their power but a very 
short time, yet in that space they were for carrying their 
ecclesiastical tyranny beyond what themselves charged on 
their former oppressors." 

The dissentions by which parliament was at this time torn 
seem to have prevented the ordinance from being carried 
into effect ; and to this we may add the hostility of the 
rebel army, many of whom, both officers and soldiers, 
were liable to its severities. If the army and the dissent- 
ing divines had been UDited, there would indeed have 
been a reign of terror far worse than that of queen Mary. 
Biddle was, nevertheless, kept in confinement, although 
the severity of it was not long after mitigated, and he was 
even permitted to travel into Staffordshire, when he 
became chaplain to a justice of the peace, who at his 
death left him a legacy ; but this indulgence coming to 
the knowledge of Bradshaw, a closer degree of confine- 
ment was the consequence. He now languished for seve- 
ral years in prison, until he was reduced to the greatest 
indigence, but at last he obtained employment in cor- 
recting the press for Daniel's edition of the Septuagint, 
by which he obtained a comfortable subsistence. At 
length, in 1654, he obtained his liberty under the General 
Act of Oblivion, passed in that year, and immediately 
established a separate society of the converts to his doc- 
trines, to whom he regularly preached every Sunday. 
This prosperous state of things, however, was but of short 
continuance; a catechism which he published in 1654, 
falling into the hands of some of the members of Oliver 
Cromwell's parliament, which met September 3, 1654, a 
complaint was made against it in the house of commons. 
Upon this the author being brought to the bar in the 
beginning of December, and asked, whether he wrote 
that book ? he answered by asking, whether it seemed 
reasonable, that one brought before a judgment-seat as a 
criminal, should accuse himself? After some debates 
and resolutions, he was on the 13th of December com- 

BIDDLE. 405 

mitted close prisoDer to the Gatehouse. A bill likewise 
was ordered to be brought in for punishing him ; but, 
after about six months' imprisonment, he obtained his 
liberty in the court of upper bench, by due course of law. 
About a year after another no less formidable danger 
overtook him, by his engaging in a dispute with one 
Griffin, an anabaptist teacher. Many of Griffin's congre- 
gation having embraced Biddle's opinions concerning the 
Trinity, he thought the best way to stop the spreading of 
such errors, would be openly to confute his tenets. For 
this purpose he challenged Biddle to a public disputation 
at his meeting in the Stone Chapel in St Paul's cathedral, 
on this question, " Whether Jesus Christ be the Most 
High or Almighty God?" Biddle would have declined 
the dispute, but was obliged to accept it. And the two 
antagonists having met amongst a numerous audience, 
Griffin repeated the question, asking if any man there did 
deny, that Christ was God Most High. To which Biddle 
resolutely answered, I do deny it. And by this open 
profession gave his adversaries the opportunity of a posi- 
tive and clear accusation, of which advantage was soon 
taken. But Griffin being baffled, the disputation was 
deferred till another day, when Biddle was to take his 
turn of proving the negative of the question. In the 
meanwhile, Griffin and his party, not thinking themselves 
a match for a man of such ability as Biddle, accused him 
of fresh blasphemies, and procured an order from the 
protector to apprehend him on the 3rd of July, (being the 
day before the intended second disputation) and to commit 
him to the Compter. He was afterwards sent to Newgate, 
and ordered to be tried for his life the next sessions, on 
the ordinance against blasphemy. However, the pro- 
tector not choosing to have him either condemned or 
absolved, took him out of the hands of the law, and de- 
tained him in prison, and at length being wearied with 
receiving petitions for and against him, banished him to 
St Mary's castle, in the Isle of Scilly, whither he was sent 
the beginning of October, 1655. During this exile he 

406 BILNEY. 

employed himself in studying several intricate matters, 
particularly the Revelation of St John. About the begin- 
ning of the year 1658, the protector, through the interces- 
sion of many friends, suffered a writ of habeas corpus to 
be granted out of the upper bench court, whereby the 
prisoner was brought back, and nothing being laid to his 
charge, he was set at liberty. Upon his return to London 
he became the pastor of an independent meeting. But he 
did not continue long in town, for Oliver Cromwell dying 
September the 3rd, 1658, his son Richard called a parlia- 
ment consisting chiefly of presbyterians, whom of all men 
Biddle most dreaded : he therefore retired privately into 
the country. 

The troubles of Biddle did not cease with the restora- 
tion of the king. Although no ordinance was then passed 
to doom to death those who dissented from the established 
religion, the time had not yet arrived when the doctrine- 
of toleration was understood. To hold a meeting-house 
was illegal, and of this illegal act Biddle, who was 
narrowly watched, was found guilty, and he was appre- 
hended, with a few members of his congregation, on the 
1st of June, 1662. They were carried before a justice of 
peace, who committed them all to prison, where they lay 
until the recorder took security for their answering to the 
charge brought against them at the next sessions. But the 
court not being then able to find a statute upon which to 
form any criminal indictment, they were referred to the 
sessions followiug, and proceeded against at common law; 
each of the hearers was fined twenty pounds, Mr Biddle 
one hundred, and they were to be committed to prison till 
the fine was paid. There he contracted a disease which 
terminated fatally on the 22nd of September, 1662, in 
the 47th year of his age. — Wood. Farrington. Toulmin. 
Biog. Brit. 

Bilney, Thomas, was born at Norfolk, and educated in 
Trinity hall, Cambridge, in the reign of Henry VIII. It 
appears from his own statement, that his aspirations alter 

BILNEY. 407 

holiness were most fervent, and that to abolish the whole 
body of sin was the desire of his heart. But his body 
being feeble, he became morbid in his mind and melan- 
choly. In the history of our Church there is not a worse 
period than that which preceded the reformation, and 
which rendered the reformation necessary: and Bilney, 
though he carefully sought it, found no help from the 
Church. There were good men at that time in the 
church of England, to whom he might have opened his 
grief, and who would have administered to his devoted 
yet morbid soul, the consolation he required ; but he fell 
into bad hands, " unlearned hearers of confession," as he 
calls them, who, seeking their own gain rather than the 
salvation of his "sick and languishing soul," appointed 
him "fastings, watching, buying of pardons, masses," and 
so robbed him both of his strength and his money. But 
by the providence of God, Erasmus's Latin version of the 
New Testament was placed in his hands ; and making this 
his study, he learned how to apply to his soul that comfort 
which the hearers of confession, through their wickedness 
or ignorance, were unable to apply. And having found 
comfort to his own soul, with all the enthusiasm of his 
nature, he sought to provide for other souls pining for 
comfort, the remedy he had found so efficacious himself. 
He was wild, eccentric, enthusiastic, and such a one was 
sure to make converts. Among the converts of Bilney 
was Hugh Latimer, who afterwards bore a prominent part 
in the reformation. That there was depth as well as 
fervour in his teaching, is proved by the fact that among 
his most devoted admirers was the staid and careful 
Matthew Parker, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury. 
Bilney 's attack was not directed against the church of 
England, but agqinst certain evil practices existing in the 
Church : the sum of his preaching and doctiine, as Fox 
admits, proceeded chiefly against idolatry, invocation of 
saints, vain worship of images, false trust in men's merits, 
and such points as " seemed prejudicial and derogatory 
to the Blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ." As touching 

408 BILNEY. 

the mass and sacrament of the altar, according to the 
same writer, he never varied or " differed therein," as Fox 
states it, " from the most grossest catholics." 

The treatment Bilney received, under these circum- 
stances, was unjustifiable in the extreme. But, as now our 
less learned bishops are sometimes found to treat with 
severity those who distinguish between what absolutely 
pertains to our Church, and the abuses which ultra- 
protestantism has introduced, so then the prelates of our 
venerable establishment confounded the Romanism mixed 
up with the church system, with the church itself, and 
put in force the law, in order to silence those who 
endeavoured to distinguish between the wheat and the 

Bilney preached so earnestly in the neighbourhood of 
London against pilgrimages, invocations of saints, and 
other corruptions, that the more determined votaries of 
Bomanism in our church began to cry out against him 
that he ought to be put down : there was an uproar 
against the bishops, and the bishops prepared to act with 
decision. Bilney was prosecuted for heresy in the year 
1527, before Tonstall, bishop of London. After certain 
questions had been put to him, and depositions received 
on preceding days, we are informed by Fox, that the 
bishop of London, with certain other bishops, his assist- 
ants, assembled in the Chapter-house of Westminster, 
whither also master Bilney was brought, and was ex- 
horted and admonished to abjure and recant : but he 
answered, that he would stand to his conscience. Then 
the bishop of London with the other bishops, ex officio, 
published the depositions of the witnesses, with his 
articles and answers, commanding that they should be 
read. That done, the bishop exhorted him again to 
deliberate with himself, whether he would return to the 
Church, and renounce his opinions or no, and bade him 
to depart into a private place, and there to deliberate with 
himself. Which done, the bishop asked him again if he 
would return. But he answered, Fiat justitia, et judicium, 

BILNEY. 409 

in nomine Domini : and being divers times admonished 
to abjure, he would make no other answer, but Fiat jus- 
titia, &c. And Hsec est dies quam fecit Dominus, exul- 
temus and laetemur in ea, [psalm 118.] Then the bishop, 
after deliberation, putting off his cap, said; In nomine 
Patris and Filis and Spiritus Sancti. Amen. Exurgat 
Deus and dissipentur inimici ejus : and making a cross on 
his forehead and his breast, by the council of the other 
bishops, he gave sentence against master Bilney, being 
there present, in this manner. 

"I, by the consent and counsel of my brethren here 
present, do pronounce thee Thomas Bilney, who hast been 
accused of divers articles, to be convicted of heresy ; and 
for the rest of the sentence, we take deliberation till to- 

The fifth day of December the bishops assembled there 
again; before whom Bilney was brought, whom the bishop 
asked if he would yet return to the unity of the Church, 
and revoke his heresies which he had preached. Where- 
upon Bilney answered, " that he would not be a slander 
to the gospel, trusting that he was not separate from the 
Church ; and that, if the multitude of witnesses might be 
credited, he might have thirty men of honest life on his 
part, against one to the contrary brought in against him :" 
which witnesses, the bishop said came too late; for after 
publication, they could not be received by the law. Then 
Bilney alleging the story of Susan and Daniel, the bishop 
of London still exhorted him to return to the unity of 
the Church, and to abjure his heresies, and permitted 
him to go into some secret place, there to consult with 
his friends, till one of the clock at the afternoon of the 
same day. 

At afternoon, the bishop of London again asked him 
whether he would return to the Church and acknowledge 
his heresies. Bilney answered, that he trusted he was 
not separate from the Church, and required time and 
place to bring in witnesses : which was refused. Then 
vol. ii 2 m 

110 BILNEY. 

the bishop once again required of him whether he would 
turn to the Catholic Church. Whereunto he answered, 
that if they could teach and prove sufficiently that he was 
convict, he would yield and submit himself, and desired 
again to have time and space to bring in again his refused 
witnesses ; and other answer he would give none. 

Then the bishop put master Bilney aside, and took 
counsel with his fellows ; and afterward calling in master 
Bilney, asked him again whether he would abjure : but 
he would make no other answer than before. Then the 
bishop with the consent of the rest, did decree and deter- 
mine that it was not lawful to hear a petition which was 
against the law ; and inquiring again whether he would 
abjure, he answered plainly, No, and desired to have time 
to consult with his friends in whom his trust was : and 
being once again asked whether he would return, and 
instantly desired thereunto, or else the sentence must be 
read ; he required the bishop to give him license to de- 
liberate with himself until the next morrow, whether he 
might abjure the heresies wherewith he was defamed, or 
no. The bishop granted him that he should have a little 
time to deliberate with master Dancaster ; but Bilney 
required space till the next morrow, to consult with master 
Farmar and master Dancaster. But the bishop would 
not grant him his request, for fear lest he should appeal ; 
but at the last, the bishop inclining unto him, granted 
him two nights respite to deliberate : that is to say, till 
Saturday at nine of the clock before noon, and then to 
give a plain determinate answer, what he would do in the 

The seventh day of December, in the year and place 
aforesaid, the bishop of London, with the other bishops 
being assembled, Bilney also personally appeared. Whom 
the bishop of London asked, whether he would now 
return to the unity of the Church, and revoke the 
errors and heresies whereof he stood accused, detected, 
and convicted. Who answered, that now he was per- 

BILNEY. 411 

suaded by master Dancaster and other his friends, he 
would submit himself, trusting that they would deal 
gently with him, both in his abjuration, and penance. 
Then he desired that he might read his abjuration; which 
the bishop granted. When he had read the same secretly 
by himself, and was returned, being demanded what he 
would do in the premises, he answered, that he would 
abjure and submit himself, and there openly read his 
abjuration, and subscribed it, and delivered it to the 
bishop, which then did absolve him : and for his penance 
enjoined him, that he should abide in the prison, ap- 
pointed by the cardinal, till he were by him released : 
and moreover that the next day he should go before the 
procession, in the cathedral church of St Paul, bare- 
headed, with a fagot on his shoulder, and should stand 
before the preacher at Paul's Cross, all the sermon time.' 
Bilney went back to Cambridge. His melancholy re- 
turned. His misery was great. He refused to be com- 
forted. He thought that he had denied Christ. His 
meals were taken without appetite. The attentions of his 
friends were received with apathy. He found no comfort 
in religion. He viewed himself as an apostate and a 
reprobate. The burden was intolerable, and he determined 
to shake it off. Entering the college hall one night, he 
bade farewell to certain of his friends, and told them he 
had set his face to go to Jerusalem. His meaning was 
soon apparent, for when he was next heard of, he was in 
Norfolk, where, first among his family connexions, and 
afterwards openly in the fields, he boldly preached the 
doctrines he had once abjured. As he probably expected 
and desired, his exertions led to his apprehension, and 
being again convicted of heresy, he was sentenced to the 
stake. The account of his last moments shall be taken 
from Fox, who, though seldom to be depended upon, 
asserts that he had " diligently searched out and procured 
the true certificate of master Bilney s burning, with all the 
circumstances and points thereto belonging." He tells us 
that Thomas Bilney after his examination and condemna- 

412 BILNEY. 

tion before Dr Pelles, doctor of law and chancellor, first 
was degraded by suffragan Underwood, according to the 
custom of their popish manner, by the assistance of all 
the friars and doctors of the same suit. Which done, he 
was immediately committed to the lay power, and to the 
two sheriffs of the city, of whom Thomas Necton was one. 
This Thomas Necton was Bilney's special good friend, 
and sorry to accept him to such execution as followed. 
But such was the tyranny of that time, and dread of the 
chancellor and friars, that he could no otherwise do, but 
needs must receive him. Who notwithstanding, as he 
could not bear in his conscience himself to be present at 
his death ; so, for the time that he was in his custody, he 
caused him to be more friendly looked unto, and more 
wholesomely kept, concerning his diet, than he was 

After this, the Friday following at night, which was 
before the day of his execution, being Saint Magnus day 
and Saturday, the said Bilney had divers of his friends 
resorting unto him in the Guildhall, where he was kept. 
Amongst whom one of the said friends finding him eating 
of an alebrew with such a cheerful heart and quiet mind 
as he did, said, that he was glad to see him at that time, 
so shortly before his heavy and painful departure, so 
heartily to refresh himself. Whereunto he answered, 
"Oh, said he, I follow the example of the husbandmen 
of the country, who having a ruinous house to dwell in, 
yet bestow cost as long as they may, to hold it up ; and so 
do I now with this ruinous house of my body, and with 
God's creatures in thanks to him, refresh the same as ye 
see." Then sitting with his said friends in godly talk, to 
their edification, some put him in mind, that though the 
fire which he should suffer the next day, should be of 
great heat unto his body, yet the comfort of God's Spirit 
should cool it to his everlasting refreshing. At this word 
the said Thomas Bilney putting his hand toward the 
flame of the candle burning before them (as also he did 
divers times besides) and feeling the heat thereof, " Oh," 

BILNEY. 413 

(said he) "I feel by experience, and have known it long 
by philosophy, that fire by God's ordinance is naturally 
hot, but yet I am persuaded by God's holy word, and by 
the experience of some spoken of in the same, that 
in the flame they felt no heat, and in the fire they 
felt no consumption : and I constantly believe, that 
howsoever the stubble of this my body shall be wasted 
by it, yet my soul and spirit shall be purged thereby ; a 
pain for the time, whereon notwithstanding followeth joy 
unspeakable." And here he much entreated of this place 
of Scripture, (Isaiah 43.) "Fear not, for I have redeemed 
thee, and called thee by thy name, thou art mine own. 
When thou goest through the water, I w T ill be with thee, 
and the strong floods shall not overflow thee. When thou 
walkest in the fire, it shall not burn thee, and the flame 
shall not kindle upon thee, for I am the Lord thy God, 
the Holy One of Israel." Which he did most comfortably 
entivat of, as well in respect of himself, as applying it to 
the particular use of his friends there present, of whom 
some took such sweet fruit therein, that they caused the 
whole said sentence to be fair written in tables, and some 
in their books. The comfort whereof (in divers of them) 
was never taken from them to their dying day. 

The Saturday next following, when the officers of ex- 
ecution (as the manner is) with their gleaves and halberds 
were ready to receive him, and to lead him to the place of 
execution without the city gate, called Bishop's gate, in a 
low valley, commonly called the Lollard's pit, under Saint 
Leonard's hill, environed about with great hills (which 
place was chosen for the people's quiet sitting to see,the 
execution) at the coming forth of the said Thomas Bilney 
out of the prison door, one of his friends came to him, 
and with few words, as he durst, spake to him and prayed 
him in God's behalf, to be constant and to take his death 
as patiently as he could. Whereunto the said Bilney 
answered, with a quiet and mild countenance, " Ye see 
when the mariner is entered his ship to sail on the trou- 
2 m 2 

414 BILNEY. 

blous sea, how he for a while is tossed in the billows of 
the same, but yet in hope that he shall once come to the 
quiet haven, he beareth in better comfort, the perils which 
he feeleth : so am I now toward this sailing, and what- 
soever storms I shall feel, yet shortly after shall my ship 
be in the haven ; as I doubt not thereof by the grace of 
God, desiring you to help me with your prayers to the 
same effect." 

And so he, going forth in the streets, giving much 
alms by the way, by the hands of one of his friends, and 
accompanied with one Dr Warner, doctor of divinity and 
parson of Winterton, whom he did choose as his old 
acquaintance, to be with lrim for his ghostly comfort ; 
came at the last to the place of execution, and descended 
down from the hill to the same, apparelled in a layman's 
gown, with his sleeves hanging down, and his arms out, 
his hair being piteously mangled at his degradation (a 
little simple body in person, but always of a good upright 
countenance) and drew near to the stake prepared, and 
somewhat tarrying the preparation of the fire, he desired 
that he might speak some words to the people, and there 
standing, thus he said : 

" Good people, I am come hither to die, and born as I 
was to live under that condition, naturally to die again ; 
and that ye might testify that I depart out of this present 
life as a time Christian man in a right belief towards 
Almighty God, I will rehearse unto you in a fast faith, the 
articles of my creed ;" and then began to rehearse them in 
order as they be in the common creed, with oft elevating 
his eyes and hands to Almighty God ; and at the article 
of Christ's incarnation, having a little meditation in him- 
self, and coming to the word crucified, he humbly bowed 
himself and made great reverence ; and then proceeded in 
the articles, and coming to these words, I believe the 
Catholic Church, there he paused and spake these words, 
" Good people, I must here confess to have offended the 
Church, in preaching once against the prohibition of the 

BILNEY. 415 

same, at a poor cure belonging to Trinity hall in Cam- 
bridge, where I was fellow, earnestly entreated thereunto 
by the curate and other good people of the parish, shewing 
that they had no sermon there of long time before ; and 
so in my conscience moved, I did make a poor collation 
unto them, and thereby ran into the disobedience of 
certain authority in the Church by whom I was pro- 
hibited : howbeit I trust at the general day, charity that 
moved me to this act, shall bear me out at the judgment 
seat of God :" and so he proceeded on, without any 
manner of words of recantation, or charging any man for 
procuring him to his death. 

This once done, he put off his gown, and went to the 
stake, and kneeling upon a little ledge coming out of the 
stake, whereon he should afterwards stand to be better 
seen, he made his private prayer with such earnest 
elevation of his eyes and hands to heaven, and in so good 
quiet behaviour, that he seemed not much to consider the 
terror of his death, and ended at the last his private 
prayers with the 143rd psalm, beginning, Hear my 
prayer Lord, consider my desire : and the next verse 
he repeated in deep meditation thrice : and enter not into 
judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man 
living be justified : and so finishing that psalm he ended 
his private prayers. 

After that, he turned himself to the officers, asking 
them if they were ready, and they answered, yes. Where- 
upon he put off his jacket and doublet, and stood in his 
hose and shirt, and went unto the stake, standing upon 
that ledge, and the chain was cast about him ; and stand- 
ing thereon, the said doctor Warner came to him to bid 
him farewell, which spake but few words for weeping. 

Upon whom the said Thomas Bilney did most gently 
smile, and inclined his body to speak to him a few words 
of thanks, and the last were these, "0 master doctor, 
pasce gregem tuum, pasce gregem tuum, ut cum veneiit, 
Dominu?, inveniat te sic facientem. That is, feed your 

416 BILNEY. 

flock, feed your flock, that when the Lord cometh, He 
may find you so doing : and farewell good master doctor, 
and pray for me:" and so he departed without any answer, 
sobbing and weeping. 

And while he thus stood upon the ledge at the stake, 
certain friars, doctors and priors of their houses being 
there present (as they were uncharitably and maliciously 
present at his examination and degradation,) came to him 
and said ; "0 master Bilney the people be persuaded 
that we be the cause of your death, and that we have 
procured the same, and thereupon it is like that they 
will withdraw their charitable alms from us all, except 
you declare your charity towards us, and discharge us of 
the matter." Whereupon the said Thomas Bilney spake 
with a loud voice to the people, and said ; " I pray you 
good people be never the worse to these men for my sake, 
as though they should be the authors of my death ; it was 
not they :" and so he ended. 

Then the officers put reed and fagots about his body, 
and set fire on the reed, which made a very great flame, 
which sparkled and deformed the visour of his face, he 
holding up his hands and knocking upon his breast, 
crying sometimes Jesus, sometimes Credo. Which flame 
was blown away from him by the violence of the wind, 
which was that day and two or three days before notable 
great, in which it was said that the fields were marvel- 
lously plagued by the loss of corn: and so for a little 
pause, he stood without flame, the flame departing and 
recoursing thrice ere the wood took strength to be the 
sharper to consume him : and then he gave up the ghost, 
and his body being withered bowed downward upon the 
chain. Then one of the officers with his halberd smote 
out the staple in the stake behind him, and suffered his 
body to fall into the bottom of the fire, laying wood on it, 
and so he was consumed. 

The following remarks are made by Jeremy Collier . 
" Sir Thomas More is positive, that before he suffered he 

BILNEY. 417 

recanted in form, and received absolution and the sacra- 
ment from the bishop's clergy. Fox denies this recanta- 
tion, and endeavours to disprove More : but then he 
writes out of his talent, and rallies somewhat untowardly. 
He charges this gentleman, then lord chancellor, with 
iosincerity ; but gives up the main cause. He sup- 
poses Bilney's receiving absolution, and confessing his 
sins to one of the bishop's priests, does not imply the 
retracting his former opinions. But here it must be 
granted, Fox fails in his reasoning : for when a person is 
charged with heresy, and prosecuted to proof, it was never 
the custom of any church to absolve him without a 
previous recantation. 

" Fox goes farther in his concessions : he supposes 
Bilney might hear mass, and receive the sacrament in the 
church of Rome, without recanting his tenets. Nay, he 
believes he did receive the sacrament. This acknowledg- 
ment makes all Fox's conjectures insignificant, and 
destroys the force of his counter evidence. For we may 
be assured,, he would never have been admitted to the 
holy Eucharist, had he not been reconciled to their com- 
munion. But he has one remark upon sir Thomas 
Mores narrative, which has more weight in it : and here 
he puts somewhat of a hard question. Why did they 
burn him after his recantation ? By going this length, 
he was no heretic; why then should he suffer the penalties 
of heresy? But then Fox's saying this was only an 
ecclesiastical law, is a mistake. For by act of parlia- 
ment, those who relapsed into heresy were to be burned 
in terrorem. Thus it may be the Church could not help 
it ; and therefore the rigour of the execution must be 
thrown upon the state. It is true, some casuists affirm, 
that it is in the power of the spiritual court to wink at 
the proof of a person thus prosecuted, and not pronounce 
him relapsed. And here the canon lawyers are almost at 
a loss ; some affirm, that the ecclesiastical judge is under 
no necessity of putting a heretic relapsed into the hands 
of the secular magistrate, and that he may mitigate 

418 BILSOX. 

the rigour of this punishment, and commute it to per- 
petual confinement in the Bishop's prison. But then 
there must be some colour of defect in the evidence, to 
make way for this favour : for when the proof is clear and 
demonstrative against the criminal, it is not in the 
Church's power to preserve him." — Fox. Wordsworth. 
Soames. Strype. Collier. 

Bilson, Thomas, was born at Winchester, 1547, being 
of German descent. He was educated at Winchester 
college, and was elected to New college in 1565. In 1570 
he took his M.A. degree, and then returned to Winchester 
as head-master. Winchester school under Bilson main- 
tained that high character which it has ever supported since 
the days of its founder, William of Wykeham ; and by 
the fellows of the college he was in due time elected their 
warden. The comparative leisure he enjoyed as warden, 
though he still superintended the discipline of the school, 
was employed by Bilson in laying up those stores of sound 
divinity, which have secured for him a prominent place 
among English theologians. " From schoolmaster of 
Winchester," says sir John Harrington, " he became 
warden ; and having been infinitely studious and iudus- 
trious in poetry, in philosophy, in physic, and lastly 
(which his genius chiefly called him to) in divinity, he 
became so complete for skill in languages, for readiness 
in the fathers, for judgment to make use of his readings, 
that he was found to be no longer a soldier, but a com- 
mander-in-chief in our spiritual warfare ;" — " especially 
when he became a bishop," adds Anthony Wood, " and 
carried prelature in his very aspect." 

In 1585 he published "The True Difference between 
Christian Subjection and Unchristian Rebellion :" in 
this work his zeal to defend queen Elizabeth involved 
him in an inconsistency, for while he maintained her 
cause against the papists who were plotting against the 
throne ; he also defended her own interference in the 
Low Countries, to save the protestant population from 

BILSON. 419 

sinking under the power of their old master the king of 
Spain : nevertheless the work is one of very considerable 
value, as shewing the course pursued by our reformers, 
(and Bilson may almost be reckoned among them himself) 
against Romanists on the one hand, and ultra-protestants 
on the other. We give as a specimen, his protest against 
the adoption of the title of catholic, by the Roman 
church : — 

Philander. (Romanist.) What one point of our religion 
is not catholic ? 

Theophilus. (Anglican.) No one point of that, which 
this realm hath refused, is truly catholic. Your having 
and adoring of images in the church : your public service 
in a tongue not understood of the people : your gazing on 
the priest while he alone eatethand drinketh at the Lord's 
table : your barring the people from the Lord's cup : your 
sacrificing the Son of God to His Father for the sins of 
the world : your adoring the elements of bread and wine 
with Divine honour instead of Christ : your seven sacra- 
ments . your shrift : your releasing souls out of purga- 
tory by prayers and pardons : your compelling priests to 
live single : your meritorious vowing and performing pil- 
grimages : your invocation of saints departed : your rules 
of perfection for monks and friars : your relying on the 
pope as head of the Church, and vicar-general unto 
Christ : these with infinite other superstitions in action, 
and errors in doctrine, we deny to have any foundation in 
the Scriptures, or confirmation in the general consent or 
use of the catholic Church. 

Phi. We stick not on your words, which you utter to 
your most advantage : but be not these things as we 
defend them, and you reject them, catholic? 

Theo. Nothing less. 

Phi. What count you catholic ? 

Theo. You were best define that : it tou chest you 

Phi. I mean catholic, as Vincentius doth, that wrote 
more than one thousand one hundred years ago. 

420 BILSON. 

Theo. So do I. And in that sense no point of your 
religion, which this realm hath refused, is catholic. 

Phi. All. 

Theo. None. 

Phi. These are but brag. 

Theo. Indeed they are so. Nothing is more com- 
mon in your mouths than catholic : and in your faith 
nothing less. 

Phi. Who proveth that ? 

Theo. Yourselves, who after you have made great stir 
for catholic, catholic, and all catholic, when you come to 
issue, you return it with a non est inventus. 

Phi. Will you lie a little ? 

Theo. I might use that sometimes, which is so often 
with you : but in this I do not. 

Phi. I say you do. 

Theo. That will appear, if you take any of those points 
which I have rehearsed. 

Phi. Which you will. 

Theo. Nay, the choice shall be yours, because the proof 
must be yours. 

Phi. Take them as they lie. Having and worshipping 
of images in the church, is it not catholic ? 

Theo. It is not. 

Phi. Eight hundred years ago the general council of 
Nice, the second, decreed it lawful, and ever since it hath 
been used. 

Theo. Catholic should have four conditions by Vincen- 
tius' rule, and this hath not one of them. There can 
nothing be catholic, unless it be confirmed two ways : 
first by the authority of God's law, and next by the 
tradition of the catholic Church ; not that the canon of 
Scripture is not perfect and sufficient enough for all points 
of faith, but because many men draw and stretch the 
Scriptures to their fancies, therefore it is very needful 
that the line of the prophetical and apostolical interpreta- 
tion should be directed by the rule of the ecclesiastical 
and catholic sense. Now in the catholic Church herself 


we must take heed we hold that which hath been believed 

at all lames, in all places, o( all persons, for that is truly 
ami properly catholic 

" By this rule your erecting ami adoring of images in 
the Church is not catholic For first, it is prohibited by 

Gods law: ami where the text goeth against you, the 
gloss cannot help you. If there be no precept for it in 
the word ofGod, in vain do you seek in the Church for 
the catholic sense ami interpretation of that which is 
nowhere found in the Scriptures. If it be not prophetical 
nor apostolical, it cannot he catholic nor ecclesiastical; 

"Again, how hath this been always in the Church, which 

was first decreed seven hundred and eighty years after 

Christ ° It is too young to bo catholic that began so 
late ; you must go nearer Christ ami His apostles, if you 
will have it catholic or ancient. 

"Thirdly; all places ami persons did not admit the 
decrees of that council. For besides Africa, and A.SJ8 the 

greater, which never received them, the churches of Eng- 
land, France, and (iermany did contradict and refute both 
their actions and reasons. And in Greece itself not long 

before, a synod of ••>;>(> bishops at Constantinople 
demned as well the Buffering as reverencing of baaaj 

Again, on the eucharistic sacrifice, Philander assorts, 
" all the fathers with one consent stand on our side for 
the sacrifice," and Theophilus replies, " You be now 
where you would be; and where the fathers seem to lit 
your feet. But if your sacrifice be convinced to be 
nothing less than catholic or oonsequenl to the prophets', 
apostles', or fathers' doc-trine, what Bay you then to your 
vanity in alleging, if not impiety in abusing, so many 
fathers and Scriptures to prop up your follies ? . . . Let 

it therefore first appear what they teach touching the 
sacrifice of the Lord's table, and what we admit : ami then 
it will soon be seen which of us twain hath departed from 
them. The fathers with one cons, nt call not your private 
that they never knew, but the Lord's Snpper, a 


4-2-2 BILSON. 

sacrifice, which we both willing! y grant and openly teach : 
so their text, not your gloss may prevail. For there, 
besides the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, which we 
must then offer to God for our redemption and other His 
graces bestowed on us in Christ His Son : besides the 
dedication of our souls and bodies to be a reasonable, 
quick, and holy sacrifice to serve and please Him : besides 
the contributions and alms there given in the primitive 
church for the relief of the poor and other good uses. — a 
sacrifice no doubt very acceptable to God : I say besides 
these three sundry sorts of offerings incident to the Lord's 
table, the very Supper itself is a public memorial of that 
great and dreadful sacrifice, I mean, of the death and 
blood- shedding of our Saviour." 

It was in the year 1593 that Bilson published his great 
work, the ablest and most complete ever published on the 
apostolical succession and the doctrine of episcopacy, 
under the title of " The Perpetual Government of Christ's 
Church." It is a work valuable in itself, and peculiarly 
valuable in these days, when these great truths are spoken 
of as if they were modern innovations. This, indeed, 
Bilson himself refutes, as it is on the ground of antiquity 
as well as of Scripture that he maintains them. The 
work is also useful in shewing how those who immediately 
succeeded the first reformers, and who, for the alterations 
they made in the Prayer Book in the reign of James I., 
may be called reformers themselves, deferred to the 
fathers, and called in the aid of tradition, in order to 
interpret the Scriptures rightly. As a specimen of this 
work we may quote the commencement of chap. xiii. 

>; Before I demonstrate the vocation and function of 
bishops to be apostolic, the ambiguity of the name of 
bishop, and community of many things incident and ap- 
pertinent both to bishops and presbyters, urge me to lay 
down and deliver certain peculiar marks and parts of the 
bishop's power and office, whereby they are always distin- 
guished from presbyters, and never confounded with them 

BILSON. 423 

either in Scriptures, councils, or fathers. Prerogatives 
there were many appropriate unto them by the authority 
of the canons and custom of the Church : as, reconciling of 
penitents, confirmation of infants and others that were 
baptized by laying on their hands, dedication of churches. 
and such like ; but these tended as Jerome saith, " to the 
honour of their priesthood rather than to the necessity of 
any law." The things proper to bishops, which might 
not be common to presbyters, were singularity in succeed- 
ing and superiority in ordaining. These two, the Scrip- 
tures and fathers reserve only to bishops ; they never 
communicate them unto presbyters. In every church and 
city there might be many presbyters ; there could be but 
one chief to govern the rest: the presbyters for need 
might impose hands on penitents and infants ; but by no 
means might they ordain bishops or ministers of the 
word and sacraments. 

"Neither are these, trifling differences, or devised by me. 
The external unity and perpetuity of the Church depend 
wholly on these. As to avoid schisms, bishops were first 
appointed ; so to maintain the churches in unity, the sin- 
gularity of one pastor over each flock is commended in the 
Scriptures. And as bishops preserve the unity of each 
church, in that there may be but one in a place, so they 
contiuue the same unto perennity, by ordaining such as 
shall both help them living and succeed them dying."' 

He then establishes his position by references to St 
Cyprian and other fathers at considerable length, and 
proceeds : — " This is a certain rule to distinguish bishops 
from presbyters; the presbyters were many in every church, 
of whom the presbytery consisted. Bishops were always 
singular ; that is, one in a city and no more, except ano- 
ther intruded, (which the Church of Christ counted a 
schism, and would never communicate with any such ;) or 
else an helper were given in respect of extreme and feeble 
age ; in which case, the power of the latter ceased in the 
presence of the former. And this singularity of one pas- 
tor in each place descended from the apostles and their 

4->4 BILSON. 

scholars in all the famous churches of the world, by a per- 
petual chair of succession, and doth to this day continue, 
but where abomination or desolation, 1 mean heresy or 
violence, interrupt it. Of this there is so perfect record 
in all the stories and fathers of the Church, that I much 
muse with what face men that have any taste of learning 
can deny the vocation of bishops came from the apostles. 
For if their succession be apostolic, their function cannot 
choose but be likewise apostolic ; and that they succeeded 
the apostles and evangelists in their churches and chairs, 
may inevitably be proved, if any Christian persons or 
churches deserve to be credited. 

" The second assured sign of episcopal power, is impo- 
sition of hands to ordain presbyters and bishops ; for as 
pastors were to have some to assist them in their charge, 
which were presbyters, so were they to have others to suc- 
ceed them in their places which were bishops. And this 
right by imposing hands to ordain presbyters and bishops 
in the Church of Christ, was first derived from the 
apostles unto bishops, and not unto presbyters ; and hath 
for these fifteen hundred years, without example or in- 
stance to the contrary, till this our age, remained in 
bishops and not in presbyters. Philip ' preached and 
baptized' at Samaria ; but he could not give the graces of 
the Holy Ghost by imposition of hands to make fit pastors 
and teachers for the work of the ministry ; the apostles 
were forced to come from Jerusalem to furnish the church 
of Samaria with meet men to labour in the word and 
doctrine. The like we find by Paul and Barnabas in the 
Acts ; who visited the churches where they had preached, 
and supplied them " with presbyters" in every place that 
wanted. Paul left Titus to do the like in Crete ; and 
Timothy was sent to Ephesus to impose hands, notwith- 
standing the church there had presbyters long before. 
Jerome, where he stretcheth the presbyter's office to the 
uttermost, of purpose to shew that he may do by the word 
of God as much as the bishop, excepteth this one point 
as unlawful for presbyters by the Scriptures: ' What 


doth a bishop, save ordination, which a presbyter may not 
do ?' He saith not, What doth a bishop, which a pres- 
byter doth not ? for by the custom and canons of the 
CKurch, very many things were forbidden presbyters, 
which by God's word they might do ; but he appealeth to 
God's ordinance, which in his commentaries upon Titus 
he calleth the 'divine institution;' and by that he con- 
fesseth it was not lawful for presbyters to ordain any. 
And why ? That power was reserved to the apostles, and 
such as succeeded them, not generally in the Church, but 
specially in the chair." 

He again refers to the fathers at considerable length, 
and remarks with reference to Epiphanius, " I can see no 
cause why some writers in our days should discredit the 
report and reason, which Epiphanius maketh against 
Aerius, that a presbyter could not be equal with a bishop ; 
forsomuch as the order of bishops ' engendered! fathers 
unto the Church ;' and the order of presbyters, ' not able 
to beget fathers, by the regeneration of baptism begetteth 
children unto the Church, but not fathers or teachers, and 
so no possibility to make a presbyter that hath not received 
power to impose hands, equal with a bishop. For what 
doth Epiphanius avouch in these words, which Athanasius. 
Jerome, Chrysostom, and Ambrose do not likewise avouch ? 
or what saith he more than the primitive church in her 
general and provincial councils decreed against Colluthus, 
Ataxinius, and others; and observed without alteration 
ever since the apostles died ? If we reject this assertion 
of Epiphanius, that only bishops should impose hands 
to ordain, arid not presbyters, w T e reject the whole Church 
of Christ, which interpreted the Scriptures in this be- 
half as Epiphanius did; and confirmed the very same 
resolution with the continual practice of all ages and 
countries where the gospel hath been preached and be- 
lieved : for by power to ordain, the Christian world hath 
always distinguished bishops from presbyters, as it is 
easy to be seen by all the monuments of antiquity that 
2 n9 



are extant to this day, either of councils, stories, or 

As some readers feel, an interest in knowing who were 
the first successors of the apostles, we shall lengthen our 
quotations by the following extract : 

" Eusebius, the first and best collector of ancient and 
ecclesiastical monuments (Egesippus and Clemens being 
lost), deriveth the successions of bishops in the four prin- 
cipal churches of the world, Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, 
and Alexandria, from the apostles' age unto his own time : 
by which, as by a line, we may be directed to see what 
manner of episcopal successions the rest of the churches 
had ; and from whom the first original of bishops des- 
cended. I will set them down as it were in a table even 
from the apostles and their followers, unto the time they 
met in the great council of Nice, about 320 years after 

"In the Church of 





James the apostle 

Peter the apostle 

Peter and Paul 

Mark the evangelist 





J ustus 





















































Paulus Samosatenus 















J ulianus 






" In the 

Church of 


















Paulinus and Miletius Xistus Dionysius 





Maxim us 



















Narcissus iterum 
















He substantiates all these assertions by reference to the 
early writers, and sums up by saying, " if Christian writers 
may deserve credit with us, we have the sincerest and 
eldest clearly witnessing and confirming unto us, that the 
apostles when they saw their time approaching, placed of 
their scholars and followers one in every church (which they 
planted) to be bishop and pastor of the place; and that 
the successions of bishops so placed by the apostles, en- 
dured in all the apostolic churches even to the times that 
they wrote and testified thus much. Neither speak they 
of these things by hearsay; they lived with the apostles' 
scholars, and received from their mouths the things which 
they witness to posterity; and their successors in most 
churches they saw with their eyes, and conferred with 
them. Irenreus, that in his youth was Polycarp's scholar, 

428 BILSON. 

saith : "We can reckon those which were ordained bishops 
in the churches by the apostles and their successors even 
to our age. If the apostles had known any hid mysteries, 
which they taught to the perfect, secretly and apart from 
the rest, they would most of all have delivered those 
things to such as they committed the churches unto. For 
they greatly desired to have them perfect and unreprov- 
able in all things, whom they left to be their successors, 
delivering unto them their own place of teaching.' Egesip- 
pus lived at the same time somewhat elder than IrenEeus. 
and travelling to Rome under Anicetus, he conferred with 
Primus, bishop of Corinth, and divers other bishops as he 
went, and found them all agreeing in one and the same 

If the reader desires to find an answer to almost 
every objection urged by the ignorant against these 
doctrines at the present day, they will find it in the 
concluding portion of this chapter of the Perpetual 

While Bilson was warden of Winchester he obtained a 
stall in the cathedral church : he was also consecrated 
to the see of Worcester in 1596. But his separation from 
Winchester was not of long continuance, for to the see of 
Winton he was translated the following year. While 
bishop of Winchester he was involved in some controversy 
by his denunciation, when preaching at St Paul's cross in 
1597, of certain calvmistic heresies ; but more particularly 
by his declining to defer to the opinions of such men as 
Calvin and Beza, or any other foreign divine. An ac- 
count of the controversy may be found in Strype's life of 
archbishop Whitgift. 

At the commencement of the reign of James I, bishop 
Bilson was one of the managers of the conference at 
Hampton court, and though he did not speak much, yet 
what he said was to the point. The discussion on the 
subject of lay-baptism, which was at that time sanctioned 
by the church of England, and objected to, it may be 

BILSON. 429 

supposed for the mere sake of objecting by the puritans, 
was opened by archbishop Whitgift. 

The following is Barlow's account : " The lord arch- 
bishop proceeded to speak of private baptism ; shewing his 
majesty, that the administration of baptism by women and 
lay-persons was not allowed in the practice of the Church, 
but enquired of by bishops in their visitation, and censured ; 
neither do the words in the book infer any such meaning. 
Whereunto the king excepted, urging and pressing the 
w r ords of the book, that they could not but intend a 
permission, and suffering of women and private persons to 
baptize. Here the bishop of Worcester said, that indeed 
the words were doubtful, and might be pressed to that 
meaning ; but yet it seemed by the contrary practice of 
of our church (censuring women in this case) that the 
compilers of the book did not so intend them, and yet 
propounded them ambiguously, because otherwise perhaps 
the book would not have then passed in the parliament, 
(and for this conjecture, as I remember, he cited the 
testimony of my lord archbishop of York) whereunto the 
bishop of London replied, that those learned and reverend 
men, who framed the book of common prayer, intended 
not by ambiguous terms to deceive any, but did indeed 
by those words intend a permission of private persons to 
baptize, in case of necessity, whereof their letters were 
witnesses : some parts whereof he then read, and withal 
declared that the same was agreeable to the practice of 
the ancient Church ; urging to that purpose, both Acts ii, 
where three thousand were baptized on one day, which 
for the apostles alone to do, was impossible, at least im- 
probable ; and besides the apostles, there were then no 
bishops or priests : and also the authority of Tertullian, 
and St Ambrose in the fourth to the Ephesians, plain in 
that point ; laying also open the absurdities and impieties 
of their opinion, who think there is no necessity of bap- 
tism. Which word necessity, he so pressed not, as if 
God without baptism could not save the child : but the 
case put, that the state of the infant dying unbaptized 

430 BILSON. 

being uncertain, and to God only known ; but if it die 
baptized, there is an evident assurance that it is saved : 
who is he that having any religion in him, would not 
speedily, by any means, procure his child to be baptized, 
and rather ground his action upon Christ's promise, than 
his omission thereof upon Gods secret judgment. 

" His majesty replied, first to that place of the Acts, 
'that it was an act extraordinary, neither is it sound 
reasoning from things done before a church be settled 
and grounded, unto those which are to be performed in a 
church established and flourishing. That he also main- 
tained the necessity of baptism, and always thought, that 
the place of St John, Nisi quis renatus merit ex aqua, &c. 
was meant of the Sacrament of Baptism, and that he had 
so defended it against some ministers in Scotland. And 
it may seem strange to you, my lord, said his majesty, 
that I, who now think you in England give too much to 
baptism, did fourteen months ago in Scotland argue with 
my divines there for ascribing too little to that Holy 
Sacrament : insomuch that a pert minister asked me, if I 
thought baptism so necessary, that if it were omitted, the 
child should be damned : I answered him, No ; but if 
you, being called to baptize the child, though privately, 
should refuse to come, I think you shall be damned.' 
But this necessity of baptism his majesty so expounded 
that it was necessary to be had where it might be law- 
fully had, id est, ministered by lawful ministers, by whom 
alone, and by no private person, he thought it might in 
any case be administered ; and yet utterly disliked all re- 
baptization, although either women or laics had baptized." 

Here the bishop of Winchester spake very learnedly 
and earnestly on that point, affirming, that the denying 
of private persons, in case of necessity, to baptize, were to 
cross all antiquity ; seeing that it had been the ancient 
and common practice of the Church, when ministers at 
such times could not be got, and that it was also a rule 
agreed upon among divines, that the minister is not of the 
essence of the sacrament. His majesty answered, "though 


he be not of the essence of the sacrament, yet is he of the 
essence of the light and lawful ministry of the sacrament, 
taking for his ground the commission of Christ to His 
disciples, (Mat. xxviii. 20,) Go preach and baptize.'' 

The issue was a consultation, whether into the rubric 
of private baptism, which leaves it indifferently to all 
laics or clergy, the words, curate or lawful minister, might 
not be inserted ; which, says Barlow, "was not so much 
stuck at" by the bishops. 

When the discussion upon the Apocrypha took place, 
we are told, " the bishop of Winton remembered the dis- 
tinction of St Jerome ; Canonici sunt ad informandos 
mores, non ad confirmandam fidem; which distinction, he 
said, must be held for the justifying of sundry councils." 

He was appointed, with Dr Miles Smith, bishop of 
Gloucester, to add the last hand in the translation of the 
Bible commanded by James I, and now known as the 
authorized version. At length, says Anthony Wood, who 
remarks that he "carried prelature in his very aspect," 
after he had gone through many employments, and had 
lived in continual drudgery as it were, for the public 
good, he surrendered up his pious soul to God, June 18th, 
1616, and was buried on the south side of Westminster 

Besides the works referred to above, he published " The 
full Redemption of Mankind by the Death and Blood of 
Christ Jesus;" and a " Survey of Christ's Sufferings and 
Descent into Hell." An edition of " The Perpetual 
Government of Christ's Church," was published at the 
university press of Oxford, in the year 1842. 

The authorities for this article are Bilson's own works. 
Wood. Strype. 

Bingham, Joseph. Of this distinguished scholar and 
divine, to whom every student of divinity in the Eng- 
lish church is so deeply indebted, and none more 
deeply than the author of the present article, very little 
is known. He was born in 1668 ; Wakefield has the 


honour of having been his birth place, and at the school 
of Wakefield, (now presided over by the Rev Dr Carter,) 
where several distinguished scholars have been educated, 
he received the first rudiments of learning. He was 
admitted a member of university college in Oxford in 
the year 1684, took the degree of B.A. in 1688, being 
elected in the following July fellow of his college, and 
taking his M.A. degree in 1691. At this time he was 
made college tutor, and gave the first turn to the thoughts 
of one who afterwards became an eminent divine, John 
Potter, eventually archbishop of Canterbury. The atten- 
tion of Bingham had been already directed to ecclesiastical 
antiquity, and his spirit was stirred up within him when 
he heard certain erroneous doctrines, with reference to the 
Holy Trinity, propounded in the university pulpit. He 
determined, when his own turn came to preach at St 
Mary's, to state exactly the meaning of the terms bwxux. 
and substantia, as used by the fathers. The opposite 
side had been advocated by a preacher of considerable 
influence in the university, and the heads of houses, the 
majority of whom were too much overwhelmed by the 
multiplicity of their important duties, to pay much 
attention to theology, were sorely perplexed how to 
decide. But the hebdomadal board decided at last to 
censure Bingham, and to defend the heterodox side. The 
sermon was preached on the 28th of October, 1695, and the 
venal press, uniting with the heads of houses, and bringing 
against Bingham charges of Arianism and Tritheism, he 
found himself under the necessity of resigning his fel- 
lowship and retiring from Oxford on the 23rd of the fol- 
lowing October. Thus did the vice-chancellor and the heads 
of houses in Oxford, drive from the university one of 
the greatest ornaments and most eminent divines of the 
church of England. Although there is no doubt of the 
facts being as they have just been stated, yet it is satis- 
factory to know that no record of this conduct on the part 
of the heterodox heads of houses remains in the books of 
the universitv. 


Bingham was not left destitute. The celebrated Dr 
Radcliffe presented him, without solicitation, upon his 
resigning his fellowship, with the rectory of Headbourn- 
Worthy, in Hampshire, then valued at about £100 a 

On the 12th of May, 1696, he was appointed to preach 
the visitation sermon in Winchester cathedral, in which, 
pursuing* the subject which had excited so much clamour 
in Oxford, he introduced a vindication of himself, ad- 
mitting that if there had been any truth in the charges 
brought against him, they were " enough to give all wise 
and sober men a just abhorrence" of his opinions. He 
was now among hard working parish priests, who could 
judge of his merits without partiality, and they recognized 
the orthodoxy of the ex-fellow, who was appointed to 
preach again at the visitation held in September, 1697. 
On this occasion he concluded his argument, and prepared 
the two visitation sermons, together with the Oxford 
sermon, for the press, with prefaces in vindication of 
himself. The sermons, however, were never printed till 
the last edition of Bingham's works, published by his 
great-grandson, in 1829. 

About six or seven years after his residence at Head- 
bourn- Worthy, he married a daughter of the Rev Richard 
Pococke, rector of Colmere, in Hampshire, by whom he 
had ten children. But the heavy burthen of a family, and 
a very small income, did not daunt the noble spirit, of 
Joseph Bingham. He commenced his immortal work, 
" The Origines Ecclesiastical, or the Antiquities of the 
Christian Church." On various particular points of 
ChristiaD antiquity, learned works had been published : 
Bingham determined to arrange the whole in one work ; 
and he himself gives us an account of some of the 
difficulties with which he had to contend: "I confess," 
he says, "that this work will suffer something in my 
hands for want of several books, which I have no oppor- 
tunity to see, nor ability to purchase. The chief assist- 

VOL. 11. . 2 u 


ance I have hitherto had, is from the noble benefaction 
of one, who being dead, yet speaketh, I mean the renowDed 
bishop Morley," (who filled the see of Winchester from 
1662 to 1684,) " whose memory will ever remain fresh 
in the hearts of the learned and the good ; who, among 
other works of charity and generosity becoming his 
great soul and high station in the Church, such as the 
augmentation of several small benefices, and provision 
of a decent habitation and maintenance for the widows of 
poor clergymen in his diocese, has also bequeathed a very 
valuable collection of books to the church of Winchester, 
for the advancement of learning among the parochial 
clergy ; and I reckon it none of the least parts of my hap- 
piness, that Providence, removing me so early from the 
university, where the best supplies of learning are to be 
had, placed me by the hands of a generous benefactor (Dr 
Radcliffe), without any importunity or seeking of my own, 
in such a station as gives me liberty and opportunity to 
make use of so good a library, though not so perfect as I 
could wish." 

The author of this volume may be permitted here also 
to record his gratitude to bishop Morley, as it was from 
that library that he borrowed the books with which he 
commenced his theological studies. He remembers the 
pleasure with which, from the study of Bingham's in- 
valuable work, he proceeded to handle the very volumes 
which had passed through the hands of one to whom 
he felt so deeply indebted. 

The first volume of the Origines Ecclesiastics was pub- 
lished in 1703, and the author proceeded regularly with 
the publication of it until, in 1722, he committed the 
tenth and last volume to the press. The work is the pos- 
session of the Church catholic, while the honour of ha\ ing 
produced it belongs to the church of England. It would 
be well if every young clergyman would commence his 
theological studies by an attentive perusal of it ; and 
most important does the study of this work become at a 


time when there is a tendency to confound medieval 
with primitive divinity. 

The patrons of ecclesiastical preferment are unjustly 
blamed for not having taken earlier notice of Bingham. 
We naturally feel a wish that so learned and so good a 
man, one of the brightest ornaments of our church, and 
one of the most useful writers in Christendom, had been 
saved the cares which could not fail sometimes to disturb 
his studies, and had possessed the means of supplying 
himself with the books he required. One regrets the 
waste of time, when it is stated of Bingham, that he 
frequently procured imperfect copies of books that he 
wanted, at a cheap rate, and then employed a part of that 
time, of which so small a portion was allotted to him, in 
the tedious work of transcribing the deficient pages. But 
it is to be remembered that patrons could not reward 
merit until it was displayed : he was not to be rewarded 
until his work was completed. The heads of houses had 
thrown suspicion upon his character, not in malice, but in 
ignorance : when his great work first appeared, we may 
imagine many a wise head shaken, as if to say, " Wait 
awhile, and see what will come of it." As the work 
advanced he began to be noticed, but such kind of prefer- 
ment as was fitting for a man of learning cannot be at once 
provided. A large parish was not the appropriate sphere 
of duty for Bingham. If he had been appointed to a 
bishopric he would not have had leisure for his great 
work, and he would have been one of those many prelates 
who, though they have laboured well in their respective 
offices, and have done their duty, by the very fact of their 
doing what their hands found to do with all their might, 
have left no work by which their names are known to 
posterity. When Bingham's character was established 
he found a patron in sir Jonathan Trelawny, bishop of 
Winchester, his diocesan, who collated him to the rectory 
of Havant in 171-2. And here, the income derived from 
his works being also taken into consideration, the narrow- 
ness of his circumstances was removed, and he was begin- 


ning to luxuriate in books, without injuring his family ; 
but, unknowing in the ways of the world, like most of his 
neighbours, he ventured to speculate, and, in 1720, lost 
nearly the whole of his hard-earned savings, by the bursting 
of the well known South-Sea bubble. 

In the successor of sir Jonathan Trelawny, bishop 
Trimnell, Bingham also found a patron. The bishop 
signified his intention to confer upon him the first vacant 
prebend in Winchester cathedral, and when his lordship 
perceived that Bingham's health was declining, he offered 
to make such provision, with respect to the living of 
Havant, as would enable his son eventually to hold it. 

But Bingham was short lived ; he died in the 55th 
year of his age, August 17th, 1723, and was buried in 
the church yard of Headbourn- Worthy. 

Owing to the misfortunes of his latter years, his family 
was ill provided for, and his wife, who was admitted into 
the widows' college at Bromley in Kent, sold his writings 
to the booksellers, who, in 1726, published an edition of 
them in two volumes, folio. x\n edition in octavo has 
recently been published by the author's great-grandson, 
with the corrections of Bingham himself, and with some 
additions. The " Origines" was translated into Latin by 
Grischovius, of Halle, in Germany, and published in 
eleven vols, 4to, 1723-38, and the translation was re- 
printed in 1751-61. 

His other works are, "The French church's Apology for 
the church of England, or the objections of dissenters 
against the articles, homilies, liturgy, and canons of the 
English church, considered, and answered upon the 
principles of the reformed church of France. A work 
chiefly extracted out of the authentic acts and decrees of 
the French national synods, and the most approved 
writers of that church. London, 1706, 8vo." 

" Scholastic history of the practice of the church in 
reference to the administration of baptism by laymen: 
wherein an account is given of the practice of the primi- 
tive church, the practice of the modern Greek church, 


and the practice of the churches of the reformation. With 
an appendix, containing some remarks on the historical 
part of Mr Lawrence's writings, touching the invalidity of 
lay-baptism, his preliminary discourse of the various 
opinions of the fathers, concerning re-baptization and 
invalid baptisms, and his discourse of sacerdotal powers. 
Part I. Lond. 1712, 8vo." 

" A scholastical history of lay-baptism. Part II. With 

some considerations on Dr Brett's and Mr L s 

answer to the first part. London, 8vo. To which is 
prefixed, the state of the present controversy ; and at the 
end there is an appendix, containing some remarks on 
the author of the second part of lay-baptism invalid.' - 

He published likewise, " A discourse concerning the 
mercy of God to penitent sinners ; intended for the use of 
persons troubled in mind." Being a sermon on psalm 
ciii. 13." It was printed singly at first, and reprinted 
among the rest of his works, in two vols, folio. London. 

The following may be given as a specimen, not only of 
his style, but also of his principles : 

"If it be now inquired what articles of faith, and what 
points of practice were reckoned thus fundamental, or 
essential to the very being of a Christian, and the union 
of many Christians into one body or Church, the ancients 
are very plain in resolving this. For as to fundamental 
articles of faith, the Church had them always collected or 
summed up out of Scripture in her creeds, the profes- 
sion of which was ever esteemed both necessary on the 
one hand and sufficient on the other, in order to the ad- 
mission of members into the Church by baptism ; and 
consequently both necessary and sufficient to keep men in 
the unity of the Church, so far as concerns the unity of 
faith generally required of all Christians, to make them 
one body and one Church of believers. Upon this account, 
as I have had occasion to shew in a former book, the creed 
v as commonly called by the ancients the avwv*, and Betjida 


Fidel, because it was the known standard or rule of faith, 
by which orthodoxy and heresy were judged and examined. 
If a man adhered to this rule he was deemed an orthodox 
Christian, and in the union of the catholic faith ; but if 
he deviated from it in any point, he was esteemed as one 
that cut himself off, and separated from the communion 
of the Church, 'by entertaining heretical opinions and 
deserting the common faith. Thus the fathers in the 
council of Antioch charge Paulus Samosatensis with de- 
parting from the rule of canon, meaning the creed, the 
rule of faith, because he denied the divinity of Christ. 
Iremeus calls it the unalterable canon or rule of faith, 
and says, This faith was the same in all the world ; men 
professed it with one heart and One soul : for though there 
were different dialects in the world, yet the power of faith 
was one and the same. The churches in Germany had 
no other faith or tradition than those in Spain, or in 
France, or in the East, or Egypt, or Libya. Nor did the 
most eloquent ruler of the Church say any more than this, 
for no one was above his master, nor the weakest diminish 
any thing of this tradition. For the faith being one and 
the same, he that said most of it could not enlarge it, nor 
he that said least, take any thing from it. So Tertullian 
says, There is one rule of faith only, which admits of no 
change or alteration, ' That which teaches us to believe in 
in one God Almighty, the Maker of the world, and in 
Jesus Christ His Son, &c.' This rule, he says, was insti- 
stuted by Christ Himself, and there were no disputes in 
the Church about it, but such as heretics brought in, or 
such as made heretics ; to know nothing beyond this, was 
to know all things. This faith was the rule of believing 
from the beginning of the gospel, and the antiquity of it 
was sufficiently demonstrated by the novelty of heresies, 
which were but of yesterday's standing in comparison of 
it. Cyprian says, It was the law which the whole Catholic 
Church held, and that the Novatians themselves baptized 
into the same creed, though they differed about the sense 


of the article relating to the Church. Therefore Xovatian 
in his hook of the Trinity makes no scrapie to give the 
creed the same name, Begula Yeritatis, the rule of truth. 
And St Jerome after the same manner, disputing against 
the errors of the Montanists, says, The first thing they 
differed about was the rule of faith. For the Church 
believed the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be each 
distinct in his own person, though united in substance. 
But the Montanists, following the doctrine of Sabellius, 
contracted the Trinity into one Person. From all which 
it is evident, that the fundamental articles of faith were 
those which the primitive Church summed up in her 
creeds, in the profession of which she admitted men as 
members into the unity of her body by baptism ; and if 
any deserted or corrupted this faith, they were no longer 
reputed Christians, but heretics, who break the unity of 
the Church by breaking the unity of the faith, though 
they had otherwise made no farther separation from her 
communion. For as Clemens Alexandrinus says, out of 
Hermes Pastor, faith is the virtue that binds and unites 
the Church together. Whence Hegesippus, the ancient 
historian, giviDg an account of the old heretics, says, They 
divided the unity of the Church by pernicious speeches 
against God and His Christ ; that is, by denying some of 
the prime, fundamental articles of faith. He that makes 
a breach upon any one of these, cannot maintain the 
unity of the Church, nor his own character as a Christian. 
"We ought therefore, says Cyprian, in all things to hold 
the unity of the catholic Church, and not to yield in any 
thing to the enemies of faith and truth. For he cannot 
be thought a Christian who continues not in the truth of 
Christ's gospel and faith. If men be heretics, says Ter- 
tullian. they cannot be Christians. The like is said by 
Lactantius, and Jerome, and Athanasius, and Hilary, and 
many others of the ancients, whose sense upon this mat- 
ter I have fully represented in another place. As. there- 
fore, there was an unity of faith necessary to be maintained 
in certain fundamental articles, in order to make a man a 


Christian, so these articles were always to be found in the 
Church's creeds ; the profession of which was esteemed 
keeping the unity of the faith; and deviating in any 
point from them, was esteemed a breach of that one faith, 
and a virtual departing from the unity of the Church. 

" We are next to examine what communion different 
churches held with one another, that we may discover the 
harmonious unity of the catholic Church. And here first 
of all we are to observe, that as there was one common 
faith, consisting of certain fundamental articles, essential 
to the very being of a particular Church and its unity, 
and the being of a Christian: so this same faith was 
necessary to unite the different parts of the catholic 
Church, and make them one body of Christians. So that 
if any Church deserted or destroyed this faith in whole or 
in part, they were looked upon as rebels and traitors 
against Christ, and enemies to the common faith, and 
treated as a conventicle of heretics, and not of Christians. 
Upon this account every bishop not only made a declara- 
tion of his faith at his ordination, before the provincial 
synod that ordained him, but also sent his circular or 
encyclical letters, as they were called, to foreign Churches, 
to signify that he was in communion with them. And 
this was so necessary a thing in a bishop newly ordained, 
that Liberatus tells us, the omission of it was interpreted 
a sort of refusal to hold communion with the rest of the 
world, and a virtual charge of heresy upon himself or 
them . 

" To maintain this unity of faith entire, every Church 
was ready to give each other their mutual assistance to 
oppose all fundamental errors, and beat down heresy at 
its first appearance among them. The whole world in 
this respect was but one common diocese, the episcopate 
was an universal thing, and every bishop had his share in 
it in such a manner as to have an equal concern in the 
whole ; as I have more fully showed in another place, 
where I observed, that in things not appertaining to the 
faith, bishops were not to meddle with other men's 


dioceses, but only to mind the business of their own : but 
when the faith or welfare of the Church lay at stake, and 
religion was manifestly invaded, then, by this rule, of 
there being but one episcopacy, every other bishopric was 
as much their diocese as their own ; and no human laws 
or canons could tie up their hands from performing such 
acts of the episcopal office in any part of the world, as 
they thought necessary for the preservation of faith and 
religion. This was the ground of their meeting in synods, 
provincial, national, and sending their joint opinions and 
advice from one church to another. The greatest part of 
church history is made up of such acts as these, so that 
it were next to impertinent to refer to any particulars. I 
only observe one thing farther upon this head, that the 
intermeddling with other men's concerns, which would 
have been accounted a real breach of unity in many other 
cases, was in this case thought so necessary, that there 
was no certain way to preserve the unity of the catholic 
Church and faith without it. And as an instance of this, 
I have noted in the fore-cited book, that though it was 
against the ordinary rule of the Church for any bishop to 
ordain in another man's diocese, yet in case a bishop 
turned heretic, and persecuted the orthodox, and would 
ordain none but heretical men to establish heresy in his 
diocese, in that case any orthodox bishop was not only 
authorized, but obliged, as opportunity served, and the 
needs of the Church required, to ordain catholic teachers 
in such a diocese, to oppose the malignant designs of the 
enemy, and stop the growth of heresy, which might other- 
wise take deep root, and spread and overrun the Church. 
Thus Athanasius and the famous Eusebius of Samosata 
went about the world in the prevalency of the Arian 
heresy, ordaining in every church where they came, such 
clergy as were necessary to support the orthodox cause in 
such a time of distress and desolation ; and this was so 
far from being reckoned a breach of the Church's unity, 
though against the letter of a canon in ordinary cases, 
that it was necessary to be done, in such a state of affairs, 

442 BIRCH. 

to maintain the unity of the catholic faith, which every 
bishop was obliged to defend, not only in his own diocese, 
but in all parts of the world, by virtue of that rule which 
obliges bishops in weighty affairs to take care of the 
catholic Church, and requires all churches in time of 
danger to give mutual aid and assistance to one another." 
— Bingham s Works, with Memoir prefixed to the last 

Birch, Thomas, was born in Clerkenwell, London, on 
the 23rd of November, 1705. His parents, who were 
quakers, intended him for trade, but the love of learning 
prevailed, and he was permitted to pursue his inclination 
on condition that he should provide for himself. He ac- 
cordingly became usher in three schools kept by quakers, 
which sect, however, he quitted, and in 1728 married the 
daughter of Mr Cox, a clergyman, but lost his wife the 
year following. In 1730 he was ordained by Hoadley, 
then bishop of Salisbury, and as a disciple of Hoadley he 
was introduced to the family of lord Hardwicke, and 
procured the living of Ulting, in Essex. In 1734 he was 
admitted into the royal society ; and the year following 
elected a member of that of antiquaries. In 1743 he 
obtained the rectory of Landewy Welfrey, in the county 
of Pembroke. In 1744 he was presented to the rectory of 
Siddington St Mary, and the vicarage of Siddington 
St Peter, Gloucestershire, which he soon after resigned 
for the rectories of St Michael, Wood-street, and St Mary, 
Staining. His next preferment was the united rectory of 
St Margaret Pattens and St Gabriel Fenchurch. In 1752 
he became one of the secretaries of the royal society, soon 
after which the degree of DD. was conferred on him by 
Dr Herring, the archbishop of Canterbury. His last 
preferment was the rectory of Depden, in Essex. He 
was killed by a fall from his horse in the Hampstead-road, 
January 9th, 1766 s Dr Birch left a considerable part of 
his fortune, and a large collection of MSS. and books to 
the British Museum, of which he was one of the first 


trustees. Besides his share in the General Historical 
Dictionary, 10 vols, folio, which professes to be a transla- 
tion of Boyle, augmented, and purged of its sceptical 
matter, he published Thurloe's State Papers, 7 vols, folio ; 
the Life of Mr Boyle, 8vo. ; the Life of Archbishop 
Tillotson, 8vo; the Life and Works of John Greaves, 
2 vols, 8vo; the Lives accompanying the Heads of 
Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, engraved by Hou- 
braken and Vertue, folio ; an Inquiry into the share 
which Charles I. had in the Transactions of the earl of 
Glamorgan, 8vo ; an Historical View of the Negotiations 
between the Courts of England, France, and Brussels, 
extracted from the State Papers of sir Thomas Edmondes, 
knight, 8vo; the Life and Miscellaneous Works of sir 
Walter Raleigh, 2 vols, 8vo ; Memoirs of the Reign of 
queen Elizabeth, 2 vols, 4to ; The History of the Royal 
Society, 4 vols, 4to ; the Life of Henry prince of Wales, 
8vo ; Letters, Speeches, &c. of Francis Bacon, 8vo ; the 
Intellectual System of Dr Cudworth, 2 vols, 4to ; Spencer's 
Fairy Queen, 3 vols, 4to ; Letters between colonel Robert 
Hammond and general Fairfax, &c, 8vo ; the Life of 
Dr John Ward, professor of rhetoric at Gresham college, 
8vo. He was also the author of many detached pieces 
in various publications. — Biog. Brit. 

Birkbeck, Simon, fellow of Queen's college, Oxford, born 
at Hornby, in Westmoreland, in 1584. He acquired 
considerable reputation as a preacher, and also for his 
acquaintance with the works of the fathers. He was after- 
wards vicar of Gilling, near Richmond, in Yorkshire, 
which living he continued to hold during the usurpation. 
His principal work is called, The Protestant's Evidence, 
showing that for 1500 years next after Christ, divers 
guides of God's Church have, on sundry points of religion, 
taught as the church of England now doth. He died in 
1656. — Wood's Athena;. 

Bikini's, a Benedictine of Rome, who, having made 

444 BISBIE. 

a promise to pope Honorius, that he would sow the seed 
of our holy faith in those parts of Britain beyond the 
dominions of the English, to which no Christian preacher 
had ever yet been, was sent by him upon that mission. 
For this purpose he received episcopal consecration from 
Asterius, bishop of Genoa, who was commissioned by that 
pope to ordain him. Upon his arrival in Britain, finding 
the West-Saxons entirely addicted to idolatry, he judged 
it more expedient to begin to preach the Christian faith 
amongst them for some time, than to proceed farther. 
Wherefore he preached the gospel first to them, and soon 
converted the king and his subjects. After the king 
had been sufficiently instructed, he approached the bap- 
tismal font to receive the sacred laver of regeneration, 
on which occasion, the most holy and victorious Oswald, 
king of Northumberland, assisted at the ceremony as 
his sponsor ; and thus, by an alliance most pleasing and 
acceptable to God, he first received him in quality of his 
son by holy regeneration, whose daughter he afterwards 
espoused as his consort in marriage. After which these 
two kings gave bishop Birinus the city of Dorchester, 
in Oxfordshire, that he might establish his episcopal see 
there. In this place, after he had built and consecrated 
several churches, and, by his industrious zeal, converted 
many to the faith of Christ, he departed to Him, and was 
interred in that city. Some time after which, when 
Hedde was bishop, his remains were translated thence to 
the city of Winchester, and deposited in the church of 
the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. Out of this see of 
Dorchester, which was soon transferred to Winchester, 
were afterwards formed the sees of Salisbury, Exeter, 
Wells, Lichfield, Worcester, and Hereford. — Bede H. E. 

Bisbie, Nathaniel, DD. rector of Long Melford, near 
Sudbury, Suffolk, and highly esteemed as a preacher and 
a zealous churchman. He was deprived of his living for 
his loyalty to king James II, and died a non-juror, 

BISHOP. 445 

September, 1695. He published — Sermons : The Modern 
Pharisee ; Prosecution no Persecution, preached at Bury ; 
Two Sermons on the Evils of Anarchy and Conventicles ; 
The Bishop Visiting ; A Visitation Sermon. — Wood's 

Biscoe, Richard, bom about the end of the 17th 
century ; probably the son of the nonconformist, John 
Biscoe, of New Inn hall, Oxford. Having first presided 
over a dissenting congregation, he repented, and subse- 
quently conformed to the church of England. In 1727 
he was presented to the living of St Martin Outwich, in 
London, holding with it a prebend of St Paul's. He was 
the author of the well known work, The History of the 
Acts of the Apostles, confirmed from other authors, &c. ; 
being the substance of his sermons preached at Boyle's 
lecture in 1736, 1737, and 1738, and published in two 
vols, 8vo, 1742. — Gen. Biog. Diet. 

Bishop, William. This person, the first bishop ap- 
pointed to preside over the Romish sect in England, was 
educated at Oxford, either at Gloucester hall (now Wor- 
cester college,) or Lincoln college. Wood thinks at the 
former, the master of which was at least a romanizer, if 
not an actual Romanist. He left Oxford in 1573, or 1574, 
and completed his education in the seminaries at Rheims 
and Rome. He was then sent as a missionary to England, 
but was arrested at Dover, and confined in London till 
the end of the year 1584. Being released, he went to 
Paris ; and having taken his degree of licentiate, he re- 
turned to England in 1591. For the first ten years of 
queen Elizabeth's reign, there were many romanizers in 
our church, who submitted to the regulations of the 
Anglican bishops. The Romanists formed no distinct or 
separate sect. 

Out of 9,400 clergy of our church, only 175 lost their 
preferments, at the time of the reformation under Eliza- 
VOL. ii. 2 P 

440 BISHOP. 

beth, for refusing either to take the oath or to conform to 
the liturgy ; among the laity in like manner, while many 
objected to the reformation, almost all frequented the 
service of the Church. It was more than once declared 
by sir Edward Coke, when attorney general, and the queen 
herself confirmed the statement in a letter to sir Francis 
Walsingham, that, for the first ten years of her reign, the 
catholics, without doubt or scruple, repaired to the parish 
churches. The assertion is true, if not too generally 
applied. " I deny not," says father Parsons in reply to 
Coke, " but that many throughout the realm, though 
otherwise catholics, [Romanists] in heart, (as most then 
were,) did at that time and after, as also now, (1606,) 
either upon fear, or lack of better instruction, or both, 
repair to protestant churches." 

Such was the general state of things. But men of more 
ardent minds, such principally as, for noncompliance, 
had been expelled the universities, or were disappointed 
in their views of preferment ; such as a warmer zeal for 
religion animated, and who could ill brook the growing 
success of innovation : such as, habituated as they had 
been in the schools to resist the new doctrines of the 
reformers, were resolved not silently to quit the field, but 
to maintain, by every exertion, the war of words they 
loved, and which finally, they doubted not must triumph : 
all these and more, when the measures of the court pre- 
vailed, withdrew to the continent. They were received as 
professors or students in the universities and monasteries, 
particularly of France, Flanders, and Italy. 

These were the men whose increasing manoeuvres 
and activity originated the Romish schism in Eng- 
land : in a few years the number of those who returned 
was considerable, and having instituted a schism, they 
were anxious to obtain a bishop that their sect might look 
like a church. But to this plan the Jesuits, with that 
dark intriguing polemic, father Parsons, at their head, 
were opposed, and instead of a bishop the pope appointed 

BISHOP. 147 

an archpriest to preside over them. For an account of 
this transaction the reader is referred to the life of Black- 
well. Blackwell, the first archpriest, was a creature of 
the Jesuits, and the secular clergy of the English schism 
were discontented with the appointment. The narrative 
shall be given in the words of Mr Berington himself a 
Romish priest of Oscott. 

" The resentment of the [Romish] clergy, thus over- 
reached and insulted, was great, when they understood 
what had been done at Rome, and when Mr Blackwell 
announcing his delegation, declared his title with the 
extent of its powers, and demanded their submission. 
The elders came forward, at the head of whom were 
Mr Colleton in the south, and in the north Mr Mush, 
firm but candid men, admired for their learning, re- 
vered for their virtues. They saw that the letter from 
the protector was unsupported by any brief from his 
holiness ; and soon the whole transaction was unravel- 
led to them, the perfidy of Blackwell and Standish, 
and the shameless declaration of the latter in company 
with the pretended delegates before the pontiff at Rome. 
They doubted not but the whole was the contrivance 
of father Parsons, and that the cardinal and the pope 
had been both imposed on, which many clauses of the 
protector's letter sufficiently evinced. Under this convic- 
tion, they entreated that they might not be urged to admit 
the authority of the archpriest, till it should be confirmed 
by an express brief, or till his holiness s pleasure were 
signified to them. Besides, they observed, they would 
not believe that the court of Rome, as the private instruc- 
tions were said to enjoin, would impose on the clergy of 
England the hard condition of submitting themselves to 
the dominion of the new order of Jesuits. 

" Blackwell perceived there was no time to be lost: where- 
fore, in conjunction with father Garnet, he despatched 
agents through the kingdom to collect signatures to a 
letter of thanks to the pope and cardinal, for that excellent 
form of government they had established over them. The 

448 BISHOP. 

young and ignorant, as yet unapprised of the matter, 
allured by promises, or intimidated by threats, gave their 
names ; and a messenger set out for Rome. 

" The heads of the [Romish] clergy, meanwhile, de- 
liberately concerted their plan of opposition, when it 
was agreed to depute two of their body, to exhibit 
their complaints to his holiness. The two chosen were 
Dr Bishop and Mr Charnock; and they took with them 
a remonstrance, the chief heads of which were, ' That 
the government of an archpriest for a whole nation 
seemed unprecedented and extraordinary ; that it did not 
answer the ends of the mission, especially as to the sacra- 
ment of confirmation ; that the divine institution required 
a hierarchy in every national church ; that the measures 
of the appointment were taken by misinformation and 
surreptitious means ; that the chief persons among the 
clergy had neither been advised with, nor had they con- 
sented, as the court of Rome had been made to believe ; 
that the whole derogated from the dignity of the clergy ; 
that it was a contrivance of father Parsons and the Jesuits, 
who had the liberty to nominate both the archpriest and 
his assistants ; that the cardinal protector's letter, without 
an express bull from his holiness, was not sufficient to 
make so remarkable an alteration in the government of 
the Church ; that the archpriest being ordered to advise 
with the Jesuits in all matters relating to the clergy, was 
an unbecoming restraint upon their body, and without a 
precedent. For these, and such like reasons, they beg 
leave to demur in their obedience to the archpriest, till 
his authority shall be more legally established.' 

" The letter of thanks to the Roman court w r as soon 
followed by less pleasing information, announcing the 
opposition to the archpriest, and finally stating that two 
agents from the clergy were actually on their way to Rome. 
The cardinal received the news with indignation, and 
instantly, by letter, demanded from Blackwell, in the 
name of his holiness, a minute detail of all things, with 
the names and characters of the agents and their refrac- 

BISHOP. 419 

tory associates, and the motives on which their resistance 
was founded. The letter is dated Nov. 10, 1598. 

"About the beginning of the new year, the deputies 
being arrived in Rome, presented themselves before the 
cardinals Cajetan and Borghese. How gracious their 
reception was, we may conjecture ; for at night, they were 
arrested in their lodgings, and conducted under a guard 
of soldiers to the Roman college, where father Parsons 
presided. He committed them to separate rooms, after 
their papers, under a threat of excommunication if they 
withheld any, had been take from them. That reverend 
father, it is related, and other Jesuits had accompanied 
the Sbirri. They were now separately examined by this 
same inquisitor, while another father, officiating as secre- 
tary, minuted their answers ; after which, being again 
admitted to the cardinals, they underwent another inter- 
rogatory, and were reconducted to prison, where they 
remained four months. 

" Such, thus far, was the issue of a solemn deputation 
from the catholic [Romish] clergy of England to his holi- 
ness Clement VIII !" 

The pope perceived that in permittiug a cardinal to 
nominate the archpriest he had made a mistake ; in 1599 
therefore he issued a brief confirming what the cardinal 
had done, and superadding the usual mandates of a papal 
decree. The brief restored tranquillity for a season, which 
was not, however, of long continuance. It forced obedi- 
ence from the popish clergy, but it could not reconcile 
them to its injunctions. They never ceased to agitate 
until they carried their point and obtained a bishop. In 
16-23 father Parsons was dead; political considerations, 
which had hitherto rendered the pope hostile to the 
request of his clerical agents in England, now inclined 
him to accede to their wishes, and Dr Bishop was chosen: 
it was supposed that his appointment would be pleasing 
to king James's government, and as Mr Beringtoo, who 
was well acquainted with the principles of his own 


church, observes, "being in his 70th year, it might be 
presumed that death would soon lay his mitre low, and 
place the English church," (meaning the Romish sect in 
England,) "in its usual state of anarchy." It seems 
strange for a Romanist to attribute so foul a purpose to 
the head of his church. Bishop was consecrated at Paris 
on the 31st of July, 1623. Mr Berington proceeds : 

" The bull for Dr Bishop's consecration to the see of 
Chalcedon was sufficiently ample, conveyed in the usual 
style of the Roman court, wherein the lowly servus ser- 
vorum soon drops the menial character, and rises to the 
demeanour and lordly energy of an all-powerful monarch. 
He is appointed, post longum mentis nostra? discursum, 
to the church of Chalcedon in the ancient Bithynia ; but 
his residence, speciali gratia, is dispensed with, so long 
as that church remain in the hands of infidels. The 
brief, which directs the exercise of his jurisdiction to the 
kingdoms of England and Scotland, specifies the powers 
with which he is invested : ' When thou shalt be arrived 
in those kingdoms, we grant unto thee license, ad nostrum 
et sedis apostolicae beneplacitum, freely and lawfully to 
enjoy and use all and each those faculties lately committed 
by our predecessors to the archpriests, as also such as 
ordinaries enjoy and exercise in their cities and dioceses.' 
These two instruments were followed by a decree, enabling 
him to choose a vicar-general, and appoint such other 
officers as he might judge necessary ; but which terminated 
with this general clause, that the whole of the powers and 
jurisdiction granted him should cease, whenever England 
returned to the catholic faith, and its sees were filled 
with regular ministers. 

"It is true, as I have stated, that the clergy applied 
for a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction, meaning he 
should be no Roman delegate, as the three archpriests 
had recently been : it is likewise true, that Dr Bishop, 
as will be seen, was received in England as such, that 
he viewed himself as such, and that the general 

BISHOP. 451 

language of the papal instruments imported as much; 
still, when we consider the saving clause, ad nostrum et 
sedis apostolicae beneplacitum, applied to the exercise of 
that jurisdiction which is alone essential to bishops, (such 
as ordinaries enjoy and exercise are the words of the 
brief,) it must be admitted that the power granted was 
revocable at will, that it was therefore a delegated power, 
and that Dr Bishop was no more than a vicar-apostolic, 
vested with ordinary jurisdiction. The events which soon 
followed under his successor will evince more clearly the 
truth of this observation. Thus was the artful policy of 
the Roman court, which never willingly lets go a power 
it has once been permitted to exercise, rendered more 
conspicuous ; and the clergy's agent, Mr Bennet, did 
but shew how completely his honesty was duped, when, 
having read the brief of his holiness, in exultation of 
mind he was heard to exclaim, rem habemus, verba non 

" The bishop was received with great marks of respect 
by the clergy and laity. The monks of the Benedictine 
order also came forward, welcoming him as ordinary of 
England, and promising filial love and reverence ; nor 
do I find that, openly at least, his government was op- 
posed by any. 

" Those monks, it may be proper to observe, had been 
lately formed into an English congregation, having estab- 
lished themselves in different houses abroad : and about 
the year 1617, the friars of the order of St Francis had 
been founded in Douay. Of these orders some were now 
in England. 

" The general state of catholics continued such as I 
have described it, favoured clandestinely by the king, 
whose mind was still fixed on the Spanish match, but daily 
harassed by the popular or puritanic party both in and 
out of parliament. The utter dislike the nation had 
expressed of that alliance, served to foment the general 
odium of popery ; but the match broke off, and with it 

452 BISHOP. 

vanished the brilliant dream the catholics had indulged 
of a returning happiness. 

" Meanwhile, the bishop of Chalcedon proceeded in his 
functions ; and to obviate, as far as might be, the repeti- 
tion of such attempts as had often disgraced the catholic 
cause, and to give a permanent security to an establish- 
ment, of which he thought himself the canonical head, 
with the advice of many able canonists, he instituted a 
dean and chapter, as a standing senate and council for his 
own assistance, and, sede vacante, to exercise episcopal 
ordinary jurisdiction. That his power, if truly episcopal, 
extended to this, the discipline of all ages had clearly 
evinced. But some doubts seemed to hang on his mind : 
'What defect,' he says, 'maybe in my powers, I shall 
supplicate his holiness to make good from the plenitude 
of his own.' The number of canons was nineteen, at the 
head of whom was Mr Colleton, the dean. At the same 
time, for the government of the distant provinces, our 
prelate appointed five vicars general, and twenty arch- 
deacons, with a certain number of rural deans. 

" Now, it seemed to many, that the English catholic 
church was re-established in the renovation of her hier- 
archy. But the fond imagination, I fear, was founded on no 
truth ; or, if it could, at this time, be said that we had a 
church, there was no period, since the reformation, in 
which it might not have been asserted with equal propriety. 
The archpriests, it is allowed, were delegated agents ; and 
such, I have shewn, was the bishop of Chalcedon. His 
commission was more extensive, but his powers were 
revocable at the will of his employer, ad nostrum et sedis 
apostolicae beneplacitum. It is not with such a precarious 
head that any ordinary jurisdiction is exercised ; that a 
hierarchy is established ; that a church is formed. The 
Roman pontiff still continued to be, what the clergy of 
England had, for many years, permitted him to be, their 
only bishop. He governed us, at one time, by the agency 
of Dr Allen, or perhaps by that of father Parsons : at 

BISSK 453 

another by his archpriests ; now by the bishop of Chalce- 
don ; and in after times, as it will appear, by a series of 
similar delegations. To the pride of some minds such an 
extraordinary economy might be flattering. 

" But," Mr Berington asserts, " we always had a 
church, because we always had a priesthood regularly suc- 
ceeding in the ministry over a believing flock, and united 
to the common centre of unity. And if the hierarchy, of 
which this priesthood is a component part, was imperfect, 
let the blame fall where it should, either on the clergy, who, 
instructed by venerable antiquity, neglected obvious means 
to give to themselves and the faithful a regular superinten- 
dant pastor, or on the Roman bishop, who, when applied 
to by reiterated petitions, agreeably to the rules of a more 
modem discipline, refused compliance, preferring rather 
to see the remains of the British church unassisted in its 
spiritual exigencies, than to part from a power which a 
vain prerogative had established. The title of universal 
bishop which St Gregory, with the strongest expressions 
of horror, had rejected from him, his successors, in later 
days, seemed fondly to ambition; at least, in their conduct 
to the British catholics, they have, to the present hour, 
retained the proud pre-eminence, and exercised it. 

" The auspicious opening of Dr Bishop's government, 
which seemed to promise peace and a re-union of sen- 
timents, was soon clouded over. He died April 16th, 
1624. aged seventy-one." 

This article is taken chiefly from Berington's Preface 
to the Memoirs of Panzani. As Berington was a Piomish 
priest at Oscott, it was thought expedient to use his 
words. Whether his sentiments would be tolerated at 
Oscott now is doubtful. — Charles Butler. Dod. Darivall's 
Transactions of the English Romanists. 

Bisse, Thomas, was bom at Oldbuiy-on-the-hill, in 
Gloucestershire, and was baptized on Easter Tuesday, 
1675. At the age of sixteen he was admitted a member of 
New college, Oxford, and on the 12th of January, 1692, 

454 BISSE. 

he was elected on the foundation of Corpus Christi college : 
he took his degree of MA. in 1698, BD. in 1708, and 
DD. in 1712. He became preacher at the Rolls in 1715, 
in the chapel of which society he delivered his able dis- 
courses " On the e